City of Steamboat Springs uses bulk of Iron Horse escrow to secure permanent easement on Yampa River

Securing access to the Yampa

Tom Ross
The city of Steamboat Springs has reached agreement with the owners of the Iron Horse Inn on how $400,000 in escrowed monies will be used for public benefit, with the largest share of the monies dedicated to securing a permanent easement along the river bank.
file photo

— The city of Steamboat Springs has reached an agreement with the owners of the Iron Horse Inn on how $400,000 in escrowed monies will be used for public benefit.

The largest share of the funds will be used to secure a permanent easement along a portion of the Yampa River bank behind the inn. That will in turn allow the city to invest in improvements to public access there.

According to a news release from the city, the escrow agreement with SwedProperty, LLC, the owner of the Iron Horse, will secure public access to 440 feet of river frontage, as well as providing $50,000 to improving tubing access to the river.

In addition, the city will use $83,000 of the escrowed monies to create a park-like setting on a parcel between the Iron Horse and the Core Trail.

Of the total escrow amount, $267,000 will be devoted to the easement, which will ensure permanent public access to a strip of riverside environment between the Yampa River Core Trail and the water’s edge on the west side of the Iron Horse.

City Manager Gary Suiter praised the role played by City Council members Tony Connell and Robin Crossan in support of himself and City Attorney Dan Foote in finalizing the agreement.

“This agreement results in numerous public enhancements, but more importantly secures a permanent easement along the Iron Horse property to the Core Trail and Yampa River,” Suiter said while also expressing the city’s satisfaction with the “significant workforce housing” offered by the Iron Horse.

Though members of the public who float, fish and wade in the stretch of the river behind the Iron Horse have probably assumed they were on public property, that has not been case, said Winnie DelliQuadri, the city’s government programs manager.

“We’ve always had an easement for the Core Trail, but the land between the Core Trail and the river was private,” dating back to the period before the Iron Horse was owned by the city,” DelliQuadri explained.

Even the riverbed below the river along the 440-foot stretch was private property until the city’s recent purchase of Snake Island. That meant that anglers who waded in to fish and tubers who got out of their water craft in the current were trespassing on land controlled by Snake Island owner Amy Goodwin.

“Amy was very polite about it,” DelliQuadri said.

Now that the city owns Snake Island, it plans to build a stone access to the river downstream from the Iron Horse where the bank is less steep.

The $80,000 for landscaping improvements will be used to build a staircase from the Iron Horse to the Core Trail plus park benches, picnic tables and bike racks that are accessible to the public. The city will also build a safety railing next to a culvert.

Some of the money will be used to enhance landscaping to the entrance of the Iron Horse along U.S. Highway 40.

The river access and other public improvements will be built over a period of two years.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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