How Saving Long Lake Can Help Affordable Housing

Long Lake, and the surrounding land, has been a staple for fun and relaxation in Crested Butte for decades. It represents multiple aspects of why many call the Gunnison valley home: outdoor recreation, wildlife, nature, community, and more. The land provides a local swimming hole for people as well as homes and food for wildlife as well as important resources for local ranchers.

The land is part of the Gunnison National Forest which is owned by the federal government. It is a high-maintenance burden on federal land managers, so it’s in jeopardy of being auctioned off. If auctioned off to a private developer, it could mean Long Lake is lost to public access, wildlife, and ranchers.

The Crested Butte Land Trust is putting together efforts to help prevent this, which would in turn help the entire valley with housing.

Photo courtesy of Crested Butte Land Trust.

Photo courtesy of Crested Butte Land Trust.

The CB Land Trust has set up a land exchange with the Gunnison National Forest (GNF). In exchange for the 120 acres on the eastern portion of Long Lake, the Land Trust would give 628 acres to the GNF, primarily near Lost Canyon on Fossil Ridge.

Here is where the benefit to affordable housing comes into play, stay with me here.

In order to exchange the Fossil Ridge land, the CB Land Trust is raising money to purchase it from the Trust for Public Land (TPL). The land was sold to the TPL by a family who ensured that if it were to be sold again, the proceeds would go directly to the Gunnison Valley Housing Foundation.

If you didn’t catch that, I’ll say it another way: once the CB Land Trust raises enough money, over $2,500,000 will be donated to creating housing in the valley!

Not only that, but the beloved local swimming hole and hangout would be safe, wildlife would still have habitat and hunting grounds, and a family that has been ranching in the valley for over 100 years would still have access to critical water and grazing land. To top it off, the Gunnison National Forest would grow by 628 acres.

This deal holds so much more importance than saving a cherished summer hangout spot. Visit the CB Land Trust to learn more about this goal and how you can help. You can also learn more in person at the Love Long Lake: Apres Ski Event or participate in the Winter Site Visit to Long Lake!