Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

CO: New State Wildlife Area near Gunnison

GUNNISON, Colo. — The Colorado Division of Wildlife recently
received property that will complete land acquisition for the new
Tomichi Creek State Wildlife Area just east of the town of
Gunnison.

Ownership of the 248-acre parcel was transferred to the Division
from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on April 1 in order to provide
for more efficient management of the property. The new state
wildlife area, which totals 458 acres, encompasses wetlands and
riparian area, and straddles more than four miles of Tomichi Creek.
The property provides substantial recreation opportunities for
anglers, small game hunters and wildlife watchers. The area also
provides important wildlife habitat for waterfowl, various bird
species and small mammals.

“This is a great area because it includes nice wetlands, a
beautiful stretch of Tomichi Creek and is located close to town for
easy recreational access,” said J Wenum, area wildlife manager in
Gunnison.”

In November of 2009, the DOW purchased an adjacent 210 acres from a
private landowner.

Establishment of the wildlife area is part of a long-term wildlife
mitigation process for the Bureau of Reclamation relating to
construction of Blue Mesa Reservoir which was completed in 1966.
Building of the reservoir inundated more than 9,000 acres of land
and 26 miles of riparian habitat and wetlands along the Gunnison
River. The bureau was required to replace the river habitat with
comparable property. Providing the land near Gunnison to the
Division of Wildlife is part of the bureau’s ongoing mitigation
activities. The bureau is continuing its search for mitigation
properties elsewhere.

The new Tomichi State Wildlife Area also will be connected to the
Division of Wildlife’s planned southwest regional office and
Outdoor Discovery Center. That complex will be built on a nine-acre
parcel just east of Gunnison on U.S. Highway 50. A network of
trails will start at the Outdoor Discovery Center and lead wildlife
enthusiasts into this easily accessible wetland.

The south side of the property also provides important brood
rearing habitat for Gunnison sage grouse, and water access for a
variety of wildlife species such as pronghorn antelope.

The Division’s Outdoor Discovery Center is being designed to help
introduce people to wildlife and outdoor recreation, said Tom
Spezze, southwest regional manager for the Division of
Wildlife.

“The Discovery Center is located in an area that will give people a
unique view of a wetland landscape, and also provide them easy
access for exploring in a safe environment,” Spezze said.

Bureau of Land Management property borders the wildlife area on the
south.

A management plan to be written for the wildlife area will detail
access points, trails, parking lots, irrigation practices, and
other various uses. A limited amount of cattle grazing and hay
production will continue on the parcel and will be evaluated during
development of the management plan.

The western portion of the wildlife area is now open to the public
to use, including fishing. The newly acquired eastern portion will
be open in the near future pending action by the Colorado Wildlife
Commission.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:
http://wildlife.state.co.us.

 

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