Sept. 29, 2020
Carbondale, Colo. — More than 20 people volunteered on Saturday to restore wildlife habitat at the historic Sutey Ranch in celebration of National Public Lands Day. Volunteers removed old barbed wire fencing and installed bird-nesting boxes on the property, which was acquired by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2017 and is now public land being managed to prioritize wildlife habitat conservation. In addition to the BLM Colorado River Valley field office, the project partners were Wilderness Workshop, the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council and Roaring Fork Audubon.

After acquiring the Sutey property, the BLM conducted a public planning process to determine the best way to manage the historic ranch as public land. The management plan was finalized in 2019 and prioritizes restoration and conservation of wildlife habitat, while allowing for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in a way that minimizes impacts on wildlife. The BLM is pursuing innovative approaches to restoring the property, such as short-duration, high-intensity goat grazing to eliminate invasive grasses, rebuild soils and increase plant diversity without the use of pesticides.

The volunteer project to remove barbed wire fencing that is no longer needed on the property will enable wildlife to move freely across the landscape. Additionally, volunteers installed 27 bird-nesting boxes on the property to encourage successful nesting by mountain bluebirds and other cavity nesting birds. Ongoing restoration efforts at Sutey Ranch will ensure this historic property, just outside of Carbondale, benefits our local communities, and our wildlife and public lands, for decades to come.

Images available here.

The following quotes are provided by participants in the volunteer project:

“We greatly appreciate these volunteers who donated their Saturday to improve Sutey Ranch for wildlife and the public. This project captures the essence of what National Public Lands Day is all about — working together to benefit public lands.” – Larry Sandoval, BLM Colorado River Valley Field Manager

“All horseback riders are thrilled to see barbed wire leaving Sutey as old wire is dangerous to horses as well as wildlife. We’re glad to volunteer and work toward that end, especially celebrating National Public Lands Day. It was a great project. Wilderness Workshop, thanks for promoting and organizing this opportunity to make Sutey even better!” – Susan Cuseo, Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council (RFVHC) Secretary & Trails

“We’re inspired by the holistic approach the BLM is taking to stewarding this beautiful property that we’re lucky to have right out our back door. There’s no better way to celebrate Public Lands Day than by rolling up our sleeves and giving back to our local public lands.” – Juli Slivka, Wilderness Workshop Conservation Director

“The Sutey Property is excellent bird habitat and Roaring Fork Audubon is very pleased to be partnering with the BLM to improve habitat there for all species of wildlife. We will be monitoring nest box usage and nesting success in the coming years and continuing to look for ways to make the property bird-friendly.” – Mark Fuller, Roaring Fork Audubon

Contact:
Hilary Boyd, Bureau of Land Management: (970) 876-9026; hboyd@blm.gov
Juli Slivka, Wilderness Workshop: (970) 963-3977; juli@wildernessworkshop.org