This Saturday more than 40 people gathered on the banks of the Yampa River to celebrate the successful conservation of the historic Hubbard Summer Camp, near the confluence of the Yampa River and Sarvis Creek. Representatives of Western Rivers Conservancy, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Yampa River System Legacy Partnership, the Yampa Valley Flyfishers, and the Routt County Board of Commissioners were in attendance.
The 43-acre Hubbard Summer Camp property lies three miles downstream from Stagecoach Reservoir and controls more than one-third of a mile of the Yampa River. The property connects the Sarvis State Wildlife Area upstream to public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management downstream. Conserving this property created new access to a stretch of this classic tailwater fishery that was formerly closed to the public.
Early efforts to conserve the Hubbard property date back to 1995. Conservation efforts gained momentum in 2011 when the Yampa River System Legacy Partnership sought inclusion of this parcel in the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. It was then that the BLM approached WRC about acquiring and conserving the property.
“When we learned about Hubbard’s Summer Place,” says WRC President Sue Doroff, “We immediately recognized the need to protect it and make it accessible. It’s a special place, with outstanding conservation values and great potential for low-impact recreation.”
WRC purchased the property in 2013 and began working to assemble the funding to allow the BLM and USFS to acquire the lands. With support from the Yampa River System Legacy Partnership, it conveyed the property to the BLM and USFS in December 2014 so it could be forever managed for conservation and recreation.
|A volunteer helps remove the fence separating Hubbard's Summer Place and the Sarvis State Wildlife Area. Photo by Russ Schnitzer.|
The day began with the symbolic removal of a cross-river fence that separated the Sarvis State Wildlife Area and the Hubbard Summer Camp property, as well as the addition of a fence ladder to enhance access between the two parcels. Volunteers from the Yampa Valley Flyfishers and the BLM and Forest Service removed heavy cabling and old barbed wire. Colorado Parks and Wildlife supported the effort by creating a staging area for the project, providing supplies, and hauling off fencing material that was removed from the river and its banks.
Saturday’s celebration also acknowledged the strength of the partnership that delivered this conservation success. “It is unusual for two agencies like the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to work together to acquire a single piece of property, but in this case we demonstrated the power of partnerships, both within the federal government and with our external partners the Yampa River Legacy Partnership and Western Rivers Conservancy” said Ruth Welch, Bureau of Land Management Colorado State Director “None of us could have achieved this on our own.”
Routt-Medicine Bow National Forest and Thunder Basin Grassland Supervisor Dennis Jeager added “While we are all excited about new fishing access to the Yampa River, let’s not forget that projects like these benefit all Americans who want access to places to hike and spend time with their families outdoors – not just our generation but for generations to come.”