Letter: A shared passion for the outdoors | AspenTimes.com

Letter: A shared passion for the outdoors

My name is Nate Simmons, and I am a partner at Backbone Media, a company that employs more than 30 people in Carbondale. Our public relations, media and marketing company is predicated upon inspiring active lifestyles and outdoor recreation, and we represent some of the biggest national and international brands in the market. To a large extent, this passion for the outdoors and access to incredible wild lands is what drove our decision to locate the company here in Carbondale in the first place. We also have offices in Jackson, Wyoming, and Denver.

Over the years we have actively promoted Carbondale, resulting in many national media stories highlighting this town. In all the coverage I have ever seen about Carbondale, the number one driving factor that makes us stand out is access to rivers and mountains, including those located in Thompson Divide.

I'm writing today to thank the U.S. Forest Service for also recognizing what a special place Thompson Divide is. In their Final Environmental Impact Statement, the agency highlighted the area's "singularity as a special place" and determined that the Divide is inappropriate for future oil and gas leasing. We at Backbone Media agree, and support this finding wholeheartedly.

Oil and gas development continues to impact watersheds and landscapes around the state, and threatens other uses of the land like hunting, fishing, mountain biking, climbing, hiking and camping. As a business owner in the valley, I urge the Bureau of Land Management to respect the Forest Service's finding and cancel existing leases in the Divide. Preserving these ecologically healthy lands supports the sustainable economy that is at the heart of our community's appeal.

Best regards,

Nate Simmons

Carbondale