Public Lands

Gunnison County is home to over 2,000,000 acres of public land, almost 82% of the total area of the county. While many people have different reasons for calling the Gunnison Valley home, it’s access to these lands, and the ability to play outside that keep many of us here.

National Park Service

The National Park Service manages two large parks within Gunnison County. Curecanti National Recreation Area encompasses the length of the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest lake, and offers some of the best camping, boating, and fishing in the country.

sup on blue mesa reservoir gunnison colorado

Below Curecanti NRA is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This Park is one of the newest in the country and its namesake is one of the deepest/narrowest gorges in the world. From either rim you can stare straight down 2000′ to the roiling waters of the Gunnison. Due to its inaccessibility at the bottom, those who enter can be sure to find monstrous trout, Class V and VI whitewater, and some of the biggest multi-pitch routes in the west, all in one of the most stunning and empty places you’ll ever visit. If the adventure of visiting the bottom isn’t for you, the Park Service maintains a Visitor Center and driving tour on the South Rim and several overlooks along the North Rim.

kayaking black canyon of the gunnison national park

U.S. Forest Service

The U.S.F.S maintains the vast majority of public lands in Gunnison County. The Gunnison National Forest is home to a large quantity of the singletrack that visitors and locals enjoy. In addition to the regular swaths of National Forest that they are stewards of, they also host 5 Wilderness Areas in Gunnison County: Maroon Bells-Snowmass, Fossil Ridge, the Raggeds, West Elk, and Collegiate Peaks.

Potential fun includes mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, OHV, skiing, hunting, whitewater rafting and kayaking, and fishing.

mountain biking in gunnison national forest

Bureau of Land Management

Most of the southern portion of Gunnison County falls under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, including the singletrack hub of Hartman Rocks Recreation Area. Tons of camping, mountain biking, and back road exploration are possible on BLM managed lands in the Gunnison Valley.

camping in hartman rocks recreation area

Gunnison Public Lands Initiative and STOR Committee

As a community, we like to proactively and positively engage with our public lands. We are incredibly fortunate to have progressive and innovative public lands managers here in Gunnison County. Two big ways we engage are through the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI) and the Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Committee.

Gunnison Public Lands Initiative

GPLI is a working group of many local stakeholders developing a consensus plan to protect public lands, enhance a strong and sustainable economy, and support historic uses of public lands.

Gunnison Public Lands Initiative from Nell Jordan on Vimeo.

This video is about Home Grown Conservation and the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative.

Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee

The STOR Committee is a committee born out of the One Valley Prosperity Project with a goal of ensuring a balance of sustainable tourism and outdoor recreation while also respecting our landscapes. This committee is unique among communities in the west and includes representatives from each of the three federal land agencies working in the Gunnison Valley, the state of Colorado, and many local stakeholders.

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