Letter: Thompson Divide affects us all | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Thompson Divide affects us all

Thompson Divide affects us all

I wish I could call the Roaring Fork Valley home, but I can't. I can, however, say that I've spent countless days skiing, kayaking, and hiking in the nearby watersheds and backcountry areas that surround this rural area of the state. It's through this time in the backcountry that I've developed a connection to a landscape that locals and visitors alike have come to appreciate — the Thompson Divide.

This past summer, I documented the Thompson Divide with Glenwood Springs local Zak Podmore. Our work was part of a broader effort by the State of the Rockies Project, which seeks to increase public understanding of vital large-landscape conservation issues throughout the Rocky Mountain Region.

During the summer, our work took us to the Greater Yellowstone region, the Crown of the Continent around Glacier National Park, and the historic Gila Wilderness. Before visiting any of these nationally recognizable areas, however, we chose to focus in depth on the Thompson Divide.

Despite being lesser known, it is just as important. It isn't just residents of the Roaring Fork Valley who stand to lose something if the Thompson Divide leases are developed. Unfortunately, if development in the Thompson Divide occurs, everyone in America who values the wild lands of the West will lose.

The issue of responsible oil and gas development is something that we all contend with in the Rocky Mountain region whether or not we live in the Roaring Fork Valley. It is a matter of protecting our watersheds, our recreation, and the heritage of the West. The effort underway to protect the Thompson Divide is one of the greatest examples we have of an entire community of ranchers, hunters, and adventurers all coming together and raising their voice to protect a vital economic and natural area.

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The State of the Rockies Project has produced a video featuring local voices discussing the potential natural gas development in the Thompson Divide. View it here: http://www.SaveThompsonDivide.org/Videos.

Additional information on the State of the Rockies Project can be found at http://www.StateoftheRockies.com.

David Spiegel

Colorado Springs