Another Haliburton Highway?

Flowering rabbit brush lines a two lane road in the Thompson Divide area, near Carbondale, Colorado. This entire area is leased for natural gas development.

In “Drilling The Roaring Fork Valley. Really?” I highlighted yet another plan to turn a truly special place into an industrial-scale gas field. Marla and I have traveled to the Aspen/Carbondale area quite a few times, usually to hike around Mount Sopris or photograph the aspen forest on McClure Pass near Marble. I recently learned that the entire area north and west of Carbondale is leased for drilling and could become an industrial wasteland. The Thompson Divide is the only buffer between Carbondale and the Piceance Basin, a mega-field sacrificed landscape, industrial complex in northwest Colorado. Along the Thompson Divide, ranchlands and rolling sagebrush give way to aspen and conifer forest in the shadow of towering Mount Sopris. Crystal River pours from the high peaks, cutting through the valley to its confluence with the Roaring Fork in Carbondale. The Roaring Fork is a significant tributary of the Colorado. The Thompson Divide is important mid-elevation habitat for migrating deer and elk, the Crystal River irrigates hay meadows,and it’s a hiking, mountain biking, wildlife-watching, fly fishing, photography and hunting mecca; providing year round revenue for surrounding communities. The Thompson Divide Coalition, with 3,200 members, is advocating for protection of the entire area and I fuly support their position. This simply isn’t the place for a massive fracking industrial park, with the thousands of truck trips, toxic chemicals threatening air and water, and pressure on rural towns. I made a trip last week to make images that I hope will support the opposition – click more to continue:

apsen forest, Marble, Colorado

Ferns In Aspen Forest : Prints Available

 Late summer ferns are thigh-high in this aspen forest on top of McClure Pass. near the town of Marble. 

crystal river, marble, colorado

Crystal River Clouds : Prints Available

 Low clouds travel through the Crystal River Valley near the town of Marble. River channels and pine forest appear, then disappear.

A western bluebird pauses on a fence post along the Thompson Divide.

Sustainable ranching is important to the area economy – this particular ranch is on a quiet two-lane road that would become a “Haliburton highway” with many thousands of truck trips.

This sign at the Crystal River Ranch tells the story of a quiet country lane. May it stay that way.

Industrial gas fields are never dark, never quiet. Thankfully it still gets dark and quiet on the Thompson Divide.

Visit the TDC site to learn how you an help. A thoughtful and impassioned letter to Senator Bennet would be a great place to start. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Another Haliburton Highway?

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Mike. I just read about the Gunnison County commisioners decision that will add some regulations for water setbacks on top of currrent regs… but development is expected to come over Kebler and Ohio passes, which would have been unthinkable not long ago.

  1. Thank you Dave for sharing these incredible pictures with TDC. These photos bring a different perspective to the landscape and reinforce the importance of protecting Thompson Divide.

    1. Thank you, Laurie. It’s my pleasure to work with you on this critically important issue. Please feel free to share the blog post and stay in touch. I’m here to help TDC win protection for the Thompson Divide.

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