Forest Service to Buy Land in CO
The U.S. Forest Service will spend $40.6 million to acquire land in 15 states this year. The agency says the acquisitions will help protect water and wilderness areas while protecting nationally significant lands from development and providing recreational access for hunters, campers and other nature lovers.
The agency said it is purchasing the lands from “willing sellers at fair-market value or through partial or outright donations of property.” The projects, selected through a competitive bid process, are in Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
The acquisitions in Colorado are:
- Little Echo Lake, Arapaho National Forest: The acquisition will forever preserve a spectacular mountain lake and surrounding land adjacent to the 17,000-acre James Peak Wilderness Area and concurrently protect Denver’s water supply. Adding the parcel to the national forest also will enhance recreational opportunities by providing legal access into the wilderness area and nearby Continental Divide Trail. The area is home to the federally threatened Canada lynx as well as the Boreal toad and wolverine which are designated by the Forest Service as sensitive species. $950,000
- Ophir Valley, Uncompahgre National Forest: The acquisition will protect breathtaking mountain vistas, including a portion of the Howards Fork drainage, a narrow steep valley roughly 2,500 feet below the top of Ophir Pass, and areas that link Telluride to Silverthorne. Recreational access for hunting and four-wheel drives, fishing rock climbing, sightseeing, camping, hiking and horseback riding will be significantly enhanced. $1.5 million