552 acres join Gunnison Gorge Conservation Area

A key parcel of private land within the Gunnison Gorge Conservation Area near Montrose has been acquired by the Bureau of Land Management.

The 552-acre inholding, formerly owned by the August Nicolas Family Partnership, was acquired for $1.4 million through a partnership with the nonprofit The Conservation Fund.

Funding came from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The fund, established by Congress in 1964 and amended in 1965, annually allots a portion of receipts from offshore oil and gas leases for state and local conservation, as well as for the protection of national parks, forest and wildlife areas.

“Bringing this inholding into public hands will enhance recreational opportunities in this area and preserve view sheds and critical wildlife habitat,” said Gunnison Gorge Conservation Area Manager Karen Tucker. “The inholding could have been developed as a rural subdivision, which would have changed the character of this area and the adjacent Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.”

Tucker said the purchase of this property was a high priority nationally for the BLM.

The purchase will benefit wildlife and recreation users, said Christine Quinlan of The Conservation Fund’s Colorado office.

“This property allows a continuous access route through the Gunnison Gorge NCA,” Quinlan said. “I credit the Nicolas family for working cooperatively with us to add their upper ranch to the NCA.”

The property is northeast of Montrose and borders the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness.

The acquisition also was supported by Montrose County Commissioners, Delta County Commissioners, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Black Canyon Land Trust and the National Park Service.


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