A bill introduced on March 22nd would provide protection to an area critical to sportsmen and to the recreation-based rural economies of Colorado. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act. The bill provides an appropriate framework for protecting this invaluable landscape by withdrawing unleased portions of the area from future energy development and by providing mechanisms for current leaseholders to retire or sell their leases, ensuring they won't be leased again.
"We applaud Senator Bennet for recognizing the value of the Thompson Divide. From iconic trout waters to some of the best hunting in the country, the Thompson Divide holds a special place in the sportsmen's heart" said Aaron Kindle, Colorado Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited.
Kindle said the bill walks a good line between conservation and development by respecting valid existing rights. He added that sportsmen are eager to work with energy companies to find equitable solutions.
The Thompson Divide is a roughly 200,000 acre landscape just west of Carbondale, Colorado that holds some of the premier big game habitat in the state and provides water to the world famous Gold Medal trout waters of the Roaring Fork River.
"We're pleased that we have the opportunity to protect an area that makes our valley great" said John-Paul Schaefer, President of Trout Unlimited's Ferdinand Hayden Chapter in the Roaring Fork Valley. "Anglers and trout conservationists value the area's extreme importance to cutthroat trout conservation and to providing cold, clean water to area rivers."