BLM acquires parcel to improve access and habitat

Jamie Connell

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has acquired a 177-acre parcel to improve access and conserve habitat along the Colorado River west of Grand Junction.

The Crow Bottom parcel, one of the last inholdings in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, includes 1.5 miles of shoreline and provides access for boating as well as camping, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and picnicking.

“This acquisition continues the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area tradition of local partners coming together to protect one of Colorado’s truly remarkable landscapes,” said Jamie Connell, Colorado state director of the BLM.

The BLM tapped the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire the parcel.

Christine Quinlan from the Colorado Office of the Conservation Fund said the group supported the acquisition. “We appreciate the leadership of the BLM, Colorado’s congressional delegation and local supporters to safeguard these public lands and the significant benefits they provide,” Quinlan said. “Conserving the Crow Bottom parcel will boost the local outdoor recreation economy and serve a diversity of users and outdoor education groups.”

The BLM has opened trails to a parking area at the property boundary to provide access.

Kirk Oldham, an area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said the acquisition also will help to preserve wildlife habitat. “McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and the Colorado River are home to a diverse amount of wildlife and provide excellent hunting and fishing opportunities.”

The conservation area spans 123,000 acres near Fruita. About 25 miles of the Colorado River winds through the area, attracting boaters for trips through sandstone canyons. Kokopelli Trail and Mack Ridge attract mountain bikers. The Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness features the second-highest concentration of natural arches in North America.

The conservation area also provides habitat for four federally endangered fish species as well as cottonwood stands for bald eagle nesting.