Let’s talk about National Forest, State Lands and BLM land in Southern Colorado and what we have available. In particular often we are asked about properties that we have available in Las Animas County near Trinidad, Aguilar and Walsenburg Colorado that has either National Forest, State Land or BLM adjoining it.
Truth is there just isn’t a lot of public land in this area. Especially as compared to Colorado’s West Slope near Durango and Pagosa Springs and other areas of Colorado. To show you what I mean I was able to download a map from the BLM website that shows the Public Land in this area.
Check out this photo (click on it to enlarge it a little bit more)
Green: National Forest
Yellow: BLM Land
Lt Blue: State Land
Medium Blue: State Parks or Wildlife Areas
The San Isabel National Forest surrounds the Spanish Peaks and it also includes a lot of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the mountain town of Cuchara including the old Cuchara Ski Resort (which is currently closed but is in the process of being revived so it might open again).
Part of the San Isabel National Forest is north of this area near Westcliffe but this portion of it in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties is some of the most pristine untouched mountain forest in Colorado. This is high country and for the most part it is between 9,000 and 14,000 feet in elevation. This means that any private land that might be adjoining it is also going to be high in elevation and in this area that means you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $10,000 on average per acre for a 35 acre parcel.
Bottom Line is that we have very few properties in this area of Southern Colorado that border National Forest.
Note: We currently have a listing at the time of this article that is access through the San Isabel National Forest Access although it does not border it and that is our Spanish Peaks Ranch Estates Parcel 30
Below are some current posts from the US Forest Service Website
I have noted on the map the areas colored in a medium blue the State Parks and State Wildlife Areas like the Spanish Peaks Wildlife Area, Trinidad Lake State Park and also Lathrup State Park. Not marked in the medium blue but marked in yellow text is the Bosque del Oso State Wildlife Area which is just over 30,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat. This land is most rough country with Pinon and juniper but has a number roads and trails and campgrounds that you can use and enjoy. You can find out more about the Bosque del Oso on this State of Colorado website .
These are relatively small areas of State Land in this area and for the most part there are very few developed properties for sale bordering them. Rarely will you find any private land bordering them.
Let’s talk now about the numerous areas marked in Light Blue. These for the most part are State School Sections and they are usually either section 16 or 32 in a township or range. While these are State Lands they generally not public access but instead leased lands. They can typically have two concurrent leases on them with one being the main Agricultural lease and the second being a Recreational/Hunting Lease. If someone has the Agricultural Lease they have first option if someone else bids on the Recreational Lease.
While we have had a few properties that adjoined or bordered these State School Sections they are also few and far between. And we have had some properties owners lease their adjoining School Section and they are able to enjoy the approximate 640 acres next door. But we also have noticed that this could present other concerns. The State requires that you pay about $1.25 per acre or so per year plus maintain a Liability Policy too protecting the State in case anyone gets hurt on the land.
The concern comes in for us in that most people thing that State Land is Public Land and they don’t know about the leases so they hunt these lands without permission. You as the lessee is responsible for the property and anyone on it so this puts you almost in a position of policing the property and 640 acres is a large track of land to look over. You in fact could have someone arrested for trespassing on the State Land if you have the lease, again putting you into a position of policing that you may not wish to be in. You have to make that decision but if it works for you and your property adjoins the State School Section then you could have access to enjoy about 640 acres for not too much money.
In this area you can contact Kit Page out of the Alamosa Office at 719-589-2360
Marked in the light yellow as you can see there is also not too much BLM land available in this area of Southern Colorado. And it could also be leased or not have good Public Access or any Public Access. So if you are intent on finding a property bordering BLM that will be difficult also.
For the most part your National Forest Land is the nicest land, the State Land is more user-friendly for recreation and the BLM land is usually rougher terrain and harder to enjoy and access, at least in this area of Southern Colorado. To find out more about the BLM in Colorado go to their website.
This area of Southern Colorado has some of the most beautiful and usable private land at affordable prices than most areas of Colorado. But it’s the classic case of supply and demand. In areas like Durango where most of the land is Public Lands there are fewer private land available so their average prices will be higher. But in this area of western Las Animas and Huerfano Counties near Trinidad and Walsenburg Colorado we have more private land available at more reasonable prices.
Since we have been marketing properties here in this area since 1995 we have seen many cases where people, who could have purchased any where in the state of Colorado, recognized the value and beauty of this overlooked part of the State. Trinidad and the area are just not on the tourist maps and many find that appealing also as many millions of tourists travel the mountain roads through the Durango and Four Corners area each year. That is when you small mountain town becomes a town for the tourists and ceases to be just your little small town. We don’t have that concern here in the quaint and beautiful area of Southern Colorado west of Trinidad.
Give us a call or send us an email today and let’s see if Las Animas County might work for you and your family. Love to hear from you soon!
We have more information about Hunting and State Parks so also see these pages: