Steamboat Springs An organization dedicated to improving public access to rivers purchased land at the confluence of Sarvis Creek and the Yampa River for $1,005,000, but anglers itching to drift a dry fly past one of the healthy trout known to be in this stretch of water will have to wait a little while longer.
Western Rivers Conservancy is a nonprofit based in Oregon, but it saw opportunity in a little more than 40 acres that sit between lands owned by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Routt National Forest.
The parcels downstream of Stagecoach Reservoir have access to both sides of Sarvis Creek and the Yampa River.
Sue Doroff, president of Western Rivers Conservancy, said her organization purchased the land because the community, the BLM and the Forest Service all saw it as critical access for the public.
“It’s accessible for anglers, and it’s adjacent to the Sarvis Creek Wilderness,” Doroff said.
The seller is listed as Colorado Limited Partnership with an address in Anchorage, Alaska. Realtor Dennis Kuntz was not able to be reached for this article.
“The value of the property is much greater than what we’ve paid,” she said, calling it a charitable sale to the organization.
The nonprofit now will turn to raising funds to cover what was borrowed for the purchase.
“Ideally, we’d like to raise private and public funding and see it managed by the BLM and the Forest Service,” Doroff said.
Until such a time when it’s managed by a public entity, it remains private property and off limits to the general public.
“We would like it to be open to all,” Doroff said. “We’re not a public agency. We don’t manage lands.”
The timeline for a project such as this varies, she said, adding that it typically takes between three and five years from inception to completion.
Western Rivers Conservancy opened a Colorado office in Denver this year.
“We’re interested in restoring lands along rivers, and we’re interested in access,” Doroff said.
The organization’s first foray into the Yampa River basin was the purchase of Cross Mountain Canyon Ranch, which included 920 acres and 2.5 miles of river land.
The organization also has purchased lands along the Gunnison and Little Cimarron rivers.
Although smaller than some of its other purchases, the organization recognizes this section of the Yampa River as important.
“We just want to protect what’s there,” Doroff said. “It’s a really terrific resource for angling.”
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com
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