Gypsum launches land purchase talks with BLM to expand gun club, acquire campground
GYPSUM — On its western border, the town of Gypsum’s neighbor is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the community is reaching out to see if the federal agency would be willing to let some of its property become town amenities.
Earlier this month, the Gypsum Town Council agreed to initiate a BLM review of a proposal for the town to purchase 37 acres of land located north of Interstate 70 and west of the Gypsum Shooting Sports Park. If the sale goes through, then the Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club plans to expand.
“We have had a lot of people requesting that we build a 400-yard range,” said Chris Huffman, a member of both the gun club and the Gypsum Town Council. “The more people we can accommodate at the target range means more people don’t have to go up to the mountains to practice. Instead they can do it here at a safe location.”
Huffman said the town and gun club agreed to split the $10,000 cost to prepare an appraisal and review of the land purchase proposal. He noted the BLM has a prescribed process for such action.
But that’s not the only deal that Gypsum would like to strike with the BLM.
West Gypsum Campground
For decades, there has been a BLM campground located just west of Gypsum, on the south side of I-70. According to Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll, while representatives were talking with BLM officials about the gun club land purchase, they tossed out the idea of the town taking over the campground.
“We don’t want the BLM to close that campground,” Shroll said.
He noted that in a recent recreation survey, Gypsum residents said they wanted to see expanded camping opportunities close to town.
Shroll said if Gypsum was in charge of the amenity, then the town could look at expanding the number of campsites and step up routine maintenance.
“We could maybe dress it up a little,” Shroll said. “It would also give us another potential boat access point to the Eagle River.”
Both Huffman and Shroll noted that both the gun club and campground conversations have just begun and they don’t expect quick action.
“The BLM and the federal government runs at its own pace,” Huffman said. “It’s taken us nine or 10 months to get this far on it.”
The proposed deal would be a three-way agreement between the town, the developer and the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.