EAGLE COUNTY - While the Colorado River is one of the best known and most heavily used rivers in the West, there is a stretch running through Eagle County where river-based recreation is virtually non-existent. Thanks to a powerful partnership and funding from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), however, people will have more opportunities to access the Colorado River.
The GOCO Board has awarded Eagle County and its partner, The Conservation Fund, a $3,966,700 GOCO/Lottery grant to protect more than 1,300 acres of land that provides recreational access to the river. In a future phase of the project, the county wants to extend the Eagle Valley Trail along the river in Dotsero.-
One of eight projects funded via a special River Corridors Initiative developed by GOCO to foster outdoor recreation and land preservation along Colorado's rivers, the Colorado Conservation and Recreation Project builds upon existing partnerships and years of prior efforts to increase public access to the Colorado River across the Eagle Valley floor.
"This effort protects four miles of Colorado River frontage and significantly enhances public recreational access to river," said Toby Sprunk, Eagle County's open space director. "In addition, it protects 1,300 acres that effectively connect the Flat Tops Wilderness Area to the Bull Gulch Wilderness Study Area. The project is a major success for those who care about conservation and outdoor recreation on the west slope and along the Colorado River."
Eagle County will use its GOCO grant to purchase a conservation easement protecting the 1,000-acre Colorado River Ranch, which straddles the upper Colorado River north of Dotsero and provides two miles of river frontage, wildlife habitat and scenic views. The county will establish three separate areas on the property with limited public access, including a put-in/take-out for boats. Additionally, Eagle County will acquire a 230-acre property approximately two miles upstream of the Colorado River Ranch that also has two miles of river frontage and valuable wildlife habitat. The county will eventually use this property to provide camping opportunities and river access.