The Bear Ranch land exchange is a bad deal for sportsmen and the reason is simple: Their proposal takes away and locks the public out of good public hunting land forever.
That is a fact and they cannot dispute it no matter how many pretty color flyers they send out. Their latest flyer claims "Sportsmen Win" with the land exchange. This is false and misleading.
The main parcel they seek will remove over 800 acres of gorgeous BLM land that many people hunt. Bowhunters, muzzleloaders and rifle hunters, both resident and nonresident, hunt this area. It is a great area to hunt with easy 4WD access. How in the world can privatizing public hunting land and then locking the public out forever be a win for sportsmen?
Furthermore, the claim that the new Buck Creek Ranch access will provide "new opportunities" for sportsmen is also false and misleading. Hunters who want to hunt the Ragged Mountain Basin public lands can and do hunt the basin quite easily with the existing access points. If any of you have hunted this area, you know very well that there are lots of hunters up there from archery season all the way through fourth rifle, from the north end of the Raggeds right down to the Erickson Springs area.
The Bear Ranch land exchange is a bad deal for the public and for the hunting public especially. The Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation both oppose the exchange. With groups like those voicing their opposition, the Bear Ranch's claim that "sportsmen win" doesn't make any sense. This land swap is not necessary, it's not wanted, and serves to benefit one person.
I would like to think the Bear Ranch would be able to leave well enough alone in the Ragged Basin area. They have thousands of beautiful private acres and they are building a spectacular western village. Currently, the general public also has access to a lot of beautiful country that we're all able to enjoy as it stands right now and as it has stood for many years, without any issues. Apparently, those at the Bear Ranch cannot leave well enough alone and they will keep trying to push this land swap through despite it not being supported by Colorado's own congressmen for several years in a row.
It is disturbing to me that one individual who spends little time in our valley, who is getting on in his years and who will probably never even walk the lands he desires wants to lock out non-hunters and hunters alike forever. This applies not only to those of us enjoying those lands now, but our kids and all the future generations who aren't even around yet. The Bear Ranch land exchange is a losing proposition for sportsmen and the public in general and I hope the public will speak out in opposition.