Interior Department opening Colorado's North Park to gas and oil drilling

By Bruce Finley The Denver Post

Over the protests of conservation groups, federal land managers are moving to open 11,160 acres of North Park for gas and oil drilling.

The valley between the Zirkel and Medicine Bow mountains sustains antelope, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, raptors, trout and sage grouse.

But the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management — despite recent vows to emphasize conservation — decided the nation's need for domestic oil justified the decision to allow drilling in the North Park area.

Conservation groups protesting opening the North Park parcels for drilling include Colorado Trout Unlimited, the National Wildlife Federation, Western Resource Advocates, WildEarth Guardians, Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Colorado Environmental Coalition.