The town of Palisade will oppose a public lands lease sale near the new Cameo shooting range, saying it could mar the entrance to town and possibly cause negative environmental risks that could curb the area's recreation and tourism draw.
Six parcels of land nearly surrounding the new Cameo Shooting and Education Complex, including parts of the Colorado River and the James M. Robb Colorado State Park campground, and adjacent to the Little Bookcliffs Wilderness Study Area, are up for a March 2019 lease auction sale by the Bureau of Land Management.
The public can comment about the parcel for lease, No. 8435, to the BLM until 4 p.m. on Oct. 16.
"It definitely is going to have an effect on the entrance into Palisade," Palisade Mayor Roger Granat said during Tuesday night's public meeting of trustees.
"When you stop and think this is above where the Grand Valley Canal is taken out of the river, that affects an awful lot of this valley."
Public lands advocate Scott Braden of Conservation Colorado notified Palisade officials about the BLM's lease sale when it was made public Oct. 1.
Braden told trustees Tuesday night he couldn't determine who nominated the parcel for the lease sale, but the area proposed for sale contains hiking trails, irrigation water, a state park, the Colorado River, the shooting complex and a nearby wild horse herd and wilderness study area — all resources that don't fit well with potential nearby oil and gas drilling.
The closest producing well is about six miles northeast in De Beque, Braden said.
"We know that this stretch of the Colorado River supports some endangered aquatic species," he told trustees. "We felt that it might have a negative impact on agriculture being close to the irrigation diversions if there was a spill or some kind of other industrial mishap related to the oil and gas development, knowing that the wine and food industries are very important to this community."
Trustees agreed and plan to submit a letter to the BLM opposing the lease sale.
"We are supporters of responsible energy development, but the proposed parcel presents some specific potential hazards that we hope the BLM will evaluate," the town said, in part, in its report.
"Our concern is that any development of this parcel could pose a risk to any of the above, which could negatively impact our town. Additionally, our town enormously benefits from a $47 million wine production and tourism industry and is world-renowned for our peaches. Risk to our agricultural sector, plus related risks to health and safety would be a concern if this lease were developed."
To comment on the lease sale go to bit.ly/2PpatUh.