New CPW Arkansas River wildlife viewing and fishing easement opens near Nathrop

A new public wildlife viewing area and Arkansas River fishing access were opened Friday as Colorado Parks and Wildlife and BlueTriton Brands formally dedicated the new Bighorn Springs State Wildlife Area near Nathrop.

Bighorn Springs SWA takes in the former Ruby Mountain SWA and preserves 122 acres in a conservation easement granted by BlueTriton, which owns the property.

The expansion and easement dedicated Friday brings to three the number of public fishing access sites along the river in Bighorn Springs SWA, which is located just south of Buena Vista in Chaffee County.

“This state wildlife area is an excellent venue for raptor viewing and for observing the local bighorn sheep population,” said Sean Shepherd, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the region.

“We appreciate BlueTriton Brands reaching out to us and proposing the conservation easement. This action will preserve, in perpetuity, the natural habitat. It’s important because it reinforces our open-space conservation values. And it enhances the recreational and educational opportunities available to the public along an extremely popular river.”

BlueTriton’s Tam Pham, senior natural resources coordinator, echoed Shepherd’s commitment to protecting important habitat through the new conservation easement.

“We are proud of this partnership opportunity with Colorado Parks and Wildlife,” Pham said. “Our commitment to sustainability and to preserving the natural environment is well reflected in our work here at the Bighorn Springs State Wildlife Area.”

Special access to Bighorn Springs is available to local schools and conservation organizations wishing to tour and study the property by contacting CPW or BlueTriton Brands.

Public access is only available from parking areas, viewing areas and designated trails.

The Bighorn Springs SWA is dedicated to fishing access and wildlife viewing. All other recreational activities are prohibited.

To access Bighorn Springs SWA, you must own a Colorado hunting or fishing license or a CPW state wildlife area pass and have it in your possession.