A current BLM plan could disrupt the recreation haven near Browns Canyon National Monument.
Arkansas River Digital Imaging
Oil and gas development could soon dot the landscape and pollute the air of some of Colorado’s most prized recreation lands. Until May 5, the Bureau of Land Management will accept public comments on a draft plan that could open over half a million acres along the Arkansas River near Salida and Browns Canyon National Monument for oil and gas leasing.
A BLM plan for 668,000 acres in Colorado could potentially open up more than 80 percent of public land included the plan for fossil fuel extraction. Raging rivers, rugged canyons and backcountry forests could be swapped for fields of oil drill rigs and a heavy cloud of industrial pollution unless we voice our concerns for a recreational haven to the BLM.
The Colorado way of life and economy in danger
Colorado loves its wildlands, an irreplaceable part of life in the West. The state even honors a Public Lands Day on Sept. 24, celebrating the 24 million acres of beloved public lands in its mountains, forests, valleys and deserts. But many of Colorado’s cherished landscapes could soon be closed off to recreationists if we allow the BLM to move forward with their current plan
From hiking to rafting, Colorado prizes its outdoor economy. Photo: Mason Cummings/TWS
Recreation is an important economic engine in Colorado—there’s been a surge of tourism and spending on recreational lands, in thanks to the large amount of national parks, monuments and other public land in the state. This region in Colorado is an outdoor recreation mecca, with record visits in the summer months as more people than ever before flock to raft the Arkansas River, one of the country’s premier whitewater rafting destinations. So entrenched is outdoor recreation that the state is angling to host the biggest outdoor retailer show in the nation.
But local economies will be disrupted if the BLM leases the majority of recreation lands for energy development, fragmenting and destroying habitat for golden eagles, bighorn sheep, peregrine falcons and elk herds in the process.
Recreation before fossil fuels
We cannot allow the oil and gas industry to take over Colorado’s public lands.
But Trump and Congress are pushing for a fossil fuel agenda and looking to significantly cut funding for our parks, despite these wild landscapes bolstering vibrant local economies out West. If we don’t speak up now, our lands will be managed for fossil fuel development and little else.