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Take a stand for two valleys

Locations: News Published

The Roaring Fork and North Fork Valleys have more in common than simply being neighbors. 

Each includes public lands under threat of oil and gas development near Huntsman’s Ridge. Also, the Wilderness Workshop (WW) insists that protection is urgently needed for Thompson Divide and also for a sensible Uncompahgre Resource Management Plan.

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You can “Stand at the Summit” of McClure Pass from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 to help unite both sides of the pass to ensure responsible use, management and preservation of the land, rivers and habitats. All of these provide clean air, pure water and the many recreational opportunities for locals and visitors. The event is free and open to the public.

The event “Two Valleys, One Landscape” is co-sponsored by WW, Thompson Divide Coalition, Western Slope Conservation Center and High Country Conservation Advocates.

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Speakers will include Carbondale Mayor Dan Richardson, North Fork Valley rancher Tony Prendergast and Pitkin County Commissioner George Newman. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennett and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton are scheduled to attend.

Wilderness Workshop Community Organizer Alicia Zeringuer explained that the event, now in its second year, is designed to help “prevent oil and gas activity where it doesn’t make sense, especially in roadless areas.”

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According to Zeriguer, this is a family-friendly event. People are encouraged to bring a camping chair or a blanket, to mingle around the campfire, enjoy live music by Paonia musician Sam Heart and a sampling of refreshments from both valleys.

Founded in 1967, The Wilderness Workshop is the conservation watchdog of nearly four million acres of public lands in Western Colorado. It’s stated mission is “to protect and conserve the wilderness and natural landscapes of the Roaring Fork Watershed, the White River National Forest, and adjacent public lands.”

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Although focused on the White River National Forest region, the work of WW is part of a visionary movement to reconnect wildlife habitats and rewild landscapes on a continental scale. Thus it frequently partners with other local, state, regional and national groups on projects.

The organizations involved in this event strongly support the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act now pending in the U.S. Congress. This legislation is designed to protect wilderness and recreation areas on public land in Colorado, including the Continental Divide, San Juan and Curecanti legislation. It provides for the designation of certain wilderness areas, recreation management areas and conservation areas in the state of Colorado and for other purposes.

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Free guided field trips

In advance or at the event, you can sign up for free guided field trips to some of the areas mentioned. Visit wildernessworkshop.org/stand-at-the-summit to RSVP.  Call 963-3977 for more information. Field trips are contingent on a minimum number of registrants.

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10 a.m. to 4p.m. – Hike the Drift Creek Trail into the Huntsman roadless area and visit a site for a proposed gas pad. Eight miles round trip and steep.    

3 p.m. to  5 p.m. – Hike the Huntsman’s Ridge Trail at the top of McClure Pass for a spectacular view of Thompson Divide. Four miles round trip.

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