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Multi-agency conservation effort brings stretch of Yampa River south of Steamboat into public domain

Dec 18th, 2014  |  Written by Steamboat Today

Multi-agency conservation effort brings stretch of Yampa River south of Steamboat into public domain
Photo by David Dietrich

"Public access to one of the most productive trout fishing stretches along the Yampa River south of Steamboat Springs was enhanced this week with the acquisition by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service of 45 acres of private property in upper Pleasant Valley known as the Hubbard Summer Place.

The $1.25 million purchase helped to realize an 18-year-old goal of the local Yampa River System Legacy Project Partnership. The conservation organization Western Rivers Conservancy, based in Portland, Oregon, facilitated the acquisition by making an intermediate purchase of the private land in order to secure it until the federal agencies could go through their own approval process.

The BLM contributed $1 million to this week’s transaction, and the USFS contributed $250,000.

The site is about 12 miles south of Steamboat Springs and downstream from a notable tailwater fishery just below Lake Stagecoach Dam. Although it is a small piece of land, public land managers said its significance is much greater. The Hubbard Summer Place borders the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area on the east and links the existing Sarvis Creek State Wildlife Area upstream and a BLM parcel straddling the river farther downstream.

Tim Wilson, associate field manager for the BLM’s Little Snake Field Office in Craig, signaled that the acquisition’s ability to connect two other parcels of public land could lead to fish habitat improvement projects in the broader stretch of the river.

“This property is extremely important, both from a conservation perspective and as a place where people can fish, hunt and hike,” Wilson said in a press release. “Now that it is publicly owned, we can manage it for its valuable fish and wildlife habitat.”

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This story appeared in the December 18, 2014 edition of Steamboat Today