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Too Wild to Drill Report

Too Wild to Drill Report

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This Wilderness Society report highlights 12 wild places threatened by oil and gas drilling.
This Wilderness Society report highlights 12 wild places threatened by oil and gas drilling.

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Published by: The Wilderness Society on Jul 22, 2013
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02/04/2014

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Too Wild to Drill

Contents

- Introduction - Places Protected - Utah: Arches National Park - Alaska: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - New Mexico: Chaco Canyon - Utah: Desolation Canyon - Colorado: Greater Dinosaur Region - Virginia: George Washington National Forest - California: Los Padres National Forest - Montana: North Fork of the Flathead River - New Mexico: Otero Mesa - Wyoming: The Red Desert - Western Colorado: Thompson Divide - Wyoming Range

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Too Wild to Drill

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hen Americans think of the Great Outdoors, we think about some of the wildest places in the world. We envision towering trees, rushing waterfalls, and jagged peaks. We dream of meandering streams teeming with fish, lush fields of wildflowers, and scampering wildlife. What we don’t envision are mazes of pipelines, acre-wide well pads, and drilling rigs dominating wild places.
Across the country, the drive to develop and drill more and more land is strong. Technological advances, like fracking, have opened up previously unavailable oil and gas deposits to drillers, and have made names like Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Marcellus part of the American lexicon. Amidst this drive to drill, companies are looking for more places to put a well pad, new roads to get the drilling equipment in, and new pipelines to get the oil and gas out. There are public lands where guided energy development is appropriate, places with fewer conflicts with wildlife and recreational users. But there are also places where drilling does not belong. Places that are homes for birds, elk, and caribou. Places where fish swim in crystal-clear rivers, and families hike and camp. Places that are Too Wild to Drill.

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Millions of Americans enjoy the great outdoors every year. These lands are places for escape, adventure and recreation. Nearly half of all Americans participated in outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and wildlife watching in 2012. These activities drive a powerful economic engine as well – outdoor recreation contributes $646 billion to the American economy annually, and supports more than 6 million direct jobs.

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Places Protected:

Striking a Balance
To strike the right balance on our public lands, we must put conservation on equal ground with energy development. Right now, millions of acres of American lands are already under lease by the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas companies hold leases on more than 38 million acres of publicly owned federal lands – an area the size of the state of Florida. In some of these areas, energy development proceeds with little controversy because conflicts are minimal. But there are many places where the natural benefits of the area outweigh the scant amounts of oil and gas that could be found. They aren’t household names like Yellowstone or Yosemite – yet. They are places that have some of the most spectacular views, are sources for critical drinking, water supplies, and are home to wildlife like elk, bears, and caribou. This report highlights twelve such places, where the natural values and wildness of these lands will be treasured by future generations. These places are too special to be opened to oil and gas drilling; too important to be threatened by dusty roads, leaky pipelines, and disruptive well pads. The twelve wild places in this report deserve protection for future generations and are too special to develop – They are Too Wild to Drill.

he Wilderness Society has successfully worked to protect wild places and balance energy development since 1935. Here are some places that are too wild to drill, which were highlighted in previous editions of this report. Thanks to the work of The Wilderness Society, other conservation organizations, and most of all the local people and groups who worked to save these places, they are now protected for future generations.

Management Plan that prioritized purchasing private mineral rights within the monument, to protect it from future harm. Carrizo Plain National Monument and the wildlife that live there are safe from the damage of both seismic exploration and drilling.

Vermillion Basin
Another success story comes from Colorado’s Vermillion Basin, more than 80,000 acres of wide-open sagebrush vistas, desert canyons and delicate multicolored badlands. Vermillion Basin lies at the heart of a region that hosts a wide diversity of wildlife ranging from big game species such as pronghorn and mule deer to majestic golden and bald eagles. The area is also steeped in a rich cultural history, as exemplified by Vermillion Canyon, which showcases one of the most spectacular collections of petroglyphs found in Colorado. Vermillion Basin came under severe threat under the Bush administration in 2007 when a BLM draft resource management plan proposed opening the entire pristine basin to damaging activities including oil and gas exploration. But in 2011 the BLM finalized a plan to keep oil and gas development out of Vermillion Basin for the next 15-20 years.

National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska
In 2012, the Department of Interior released a new plan for managing the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska, in the American Arctic. This Reserve is home to thousands of caribou, polar bears, and millions of nesting birds. Under this plan, more than 70% of accessible oil will still be available for companies to drill for – but at the same time, more than 11 million acres – including 95% of the most critical wildlife habitat – is being kept off limits to drilling, and the well pads, roads, and pipelines that come with it. This is one of the best and biggest examples of striking a balance between conservation and energy development.

Rocky Mountain Front
Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front was on the front lines of oil and gas drilling for decades. However, thanks to work with decision makers and partners in the region, more than 400,000 acres of wild lands are permanently off limits to oil and gas drilling. There is still more work to be done to protect the rest of the Rocky Mountain Front, but for now, some of the best wildlife habitat in the lower 48 states is protected – forever – from oil and gas drilling.

Carrizo Plain
California’s Carrizo Plain National Monument was one of many wild areas threatened with oil and gas drilling by the Bush administration. Drilling here would have threatened more than a dozen of the most endangered species in America, including California condors. The Wilderness Society and other organizations urged the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure exploration and drilling, even on existing leases, did not harm this valued place. Fortunately, the BLM recognized that Carrizo Plain’s habitat needed to be protected from the pounding and explosions used for seismic exploration, as well as drilling, requiring in-depth environmental analysis to ensure the monument’s resources were not harmed. In 2010 the BLM released a Resource

Wild Heritage
Americans value the untamed, open spaces of wild public lands. In a recent poll, 65% of people said protecting wildlands to make them available for future generations is a very important priority for lands managed by the federal government. In the same poll, 76% of respondents agreed that there are places that are too special to open to oil and gas drilling.

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The Wilderness Society

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Utah: Arches National Park

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n the heart of Utah’s red rock country, Arches National Park is a wonderland of literally mind-bending stone formations. The Park has more than two thousand natural stone arches, including the iconic Delicate Arch, as well as hundreds of other towering spires and fins. Casual visitors can wander the park and visit arches, hikers and backpackers can explore its backcountry, and expert climbers can tackle its rocks, all different ways to experience this rugged and wild country.

course people can explore its canyons, arches, and beauty on their own by car, bike, horseback or foot. Arches draws expert climbers and photographers, and a host of international travelers. More than one million people come to visit the park each year, spending time in and around nearby Moab, as well as many of the other nearby parks and towns, which brings more than $100 million to the economy each year. These visitors are coming (and staying) to experience the park and its expanse of natural beauty; they are not coming to experience a view of oil and gas wells and unhealthy air from drilling.

Threats to Arches National Park
In late 2008, leases were proposed on the border of Arches National Park. Only a successful lawsuit from conservation groups, including The Wilderness Society, stopped the Bureau of Land Management from completing the sale. The travesty of this lease sale led to significant reforms to the federal onshore oil and gas leasing program, so that the public (and the National Park Service) now has a greater role and chance to weigh in before leases are sold. The reforms also established the “master leasing plan” program to address and resolve conflicts with national parks and other important resources, like wildlife habitat and wilderness values, in advance of leasing and development. The industry is still fighting for the chance to lease and drill these lands. The agency and the public now have a chance to make sure they don’t.

Unfortunately, oil and gas companies see the area around this impressive natural wonder as another place to drill, which would harm the park and those who want to experience it. A multi-year fight to keep the industry from drilling on the doorstep of Arches is not over yet.

Jim Gale, National Park Ranger
Jim Gale has spent the last 35 years working in parks – across America and in other parts of the world – creating educational materials, designing visitor centers, and exploring their trails and wild areas. Gale has now joined Park Rangers for Our Lands to have a greater voice in protecting parks and other natural areas from the damage of oil and gas development. “I have enjoyed the beauty and quiet of wild places in our national parks, and I want future generations to have this experience. We need to do everything we can to make sure we create opportunities for people to connect with nature. Our National Parks protect America’s treasures, our natural and cultural heritage, and we need to insure their protection from the harm that comes from oil and gas drilling. Arches National Park should not be surrounded by drill rigs. It seems obvious but apparently we need to keep reminding the oil and gas industry and the federal government, so Park Rangers for Our Lands will do just that.”

How to protect Arches National Park:

The Bureau of Land Management is now preparing a master leasing plan to manage the areas around Arches National Park, as well as Canyonlands National Park. This plan must protect the areas around these parks from leasing and drilling, and consider the impacts of what drilling near the parks would have on them.

Economic Benefits
There are ways for anyone and everyone to enjoy Arches National Park. The National Park Service leads tours, as do commercial outfitters, and of

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The Wilderness Society

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Alaska: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

billion in economic activity – nearly one-fifth of Alaska’s total gross domestic product. Outdoor activity also provides jobs for 92,000 Alaskans worth more than $2.6 billion in wages and salaries. Without permanent protection for the coastal plain of the Refuge, a vital part of the Alaskan economy would be diminished forever.

Threats to Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Proposals to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling go back decades – including the high-stakes battle in Congress in the early 2000s. Just a few months into the 113th Congress, three bills to open the coastal plain to oil drilling have been introduced. Alaska’s governor, Sean Parnell, has also offered up to $50 million to send seismic testing equipment into the Arctic Refuge, potentially disturbing polar bears and cubs in their winter dens. The native Gwich’in people that live near the Arctic Refuge depend on these caribou – in many cases, hunted caribou make up most of their diet. The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is sacred to them; they call it “the place where life begins.” Opening the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling would jeopardize their entire culture.

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ar to the north, above the Arctic Circle, lies Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Spanning the peaks of the Brooks Range mountains to the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most pristine places in the world.

the coastal plain to drilling straight through the biological heart of the Refuge.

Robert Thompson — Activist
Robert Thompson is an Alaska Native activist who lives in the village of Kaktovik within the boundaries of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. After spending more than 20 years making his living as a fur trapper near Alaska’s Lake Minchumina, Thompson opened his business, Kaktovik Arctic Adventures. He now acts as a guide, taking people to view polar bears and raft down rivers in the wildlands of the Arctic Refuge. “My people, the Inupiat, have lived in this Arctic region for thousands of years. Our culture is based on hunting activities both on land and in the ocean. Our culture depends on a clean environment. For the offshore areas to be exploited for oil is not acceptable to me. The fact that my people live here is directly related to the marine environment. The central part of our culture is the bowhead whale. An oil spill could mean the end of the whales and

our culture. It is my sincere belief that if people know what is here, they will want to save it. I am optimistic and do believe a movement is about to happen, and people will do what is required so that future generations will be able to enjoy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as we know it.”

Economic Benefits
Alaska’s wild lands are a major draw for outdoor adventurers. Hunters and anglers experience worldclass fish and wildlife, and hikers and backpackers can experience terrain that is nothing like what they can find in the lower 48 states. Places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge might be remote, but the untrammeled tundra is a draw for hearty backpackers and hunters looking to experience the wildest of Alaskan adventures. There are adventures here that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world, such as camping among thousands of caribou, or rafting down the Hula Hula river in complete solitude. Outdoor recreation in Alaska spurs more than $9.5

The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is the heart of this unspoiled wilderness. Gray wolves and arctic foxes patrol the tundra, and hundreds of songbirds and waterfowl nest in the grassy hillocks. Perhaps the real stars of the Arctic Refuge are the thousands of Porcupine caribou that migrate to the coastal plain every year to give birth to the next generation of calves, though this area is also known to be important habitat for polar bear dens and other marine mammals, such as whales and seals, that spend time in the refuge’s coastal lagoons and along its barrier islands. But the Arctic Refuge is at risk from oil companies and their allies in Congress that want to open

How to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service should finalize its plan for managing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and recommend that the coastal plain be designated wilderness. Congress should also act, and pass legislation to add the coastal plain to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

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The Wilderness Society

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It was the cultural center for Ancestral Puebloans, and the gatherings that happened in Chaco Canyon help explain our own history today.  “One of the most critical aspects of Chaco Canyon was that it was built very purposefully. Allowing drilling to take place here would be like allowing drilling on the National Mall in Washington DC – all of the buildings are aligned with one another along the cardinal directions, and have specific views of cosmic events like the summer and winter solstices. “The effects of drilling so near Chaco Canyon go beyond just being able to see an oil derrick. The haze from the wells, the dust that is kicked up by the trucks driving back and forth to the wellpads – all of these diminish the qualities of Chaco Canyon that make it historic. Losing those means losing part of not just Native culture, but American culture.”

alignment with the stars, in a way that modern scholars are still studying. Putting the land into the hands of gas and oil drilling would destroy these valuable and timeless landmarks and the flora and fauna that depend upon the land.

Threats to Chaco Canyon
The Bureau of Land Management is offering leases on lands right outside the park boundaries. If developed, these leases would mar the views from the park, and pollute the air in and around this historic site. Perhaps worse, other potential leases in the area are in areas with unprotected Chacoan ruins, which could be lost forever if leases are sold and developed. Leasing in the area doesn’t just threaten the cultural resources of Chaco Canyon – it also endangers plants and wildlife that depend on the area. Elk, deer, bobcats, rabbits, badgers, porcupines, bats, snakes, lizards and varying bird species roam the landscape through the Canyon’s floor of pinyonjuniper woodlands, cottonwoods and willows, and scrub

Economic Benefits

New Mexico: Chaco Canyon
long gravel road in the Four Corners region of Northern New Mexico will take you to the high desert valley and cultural wonder that is Chaco Canyon. Once inhabited or visited by a number of Native American peoples, including the Navajo and Hopi who still hold these places sacred, the canyon is home to some of America’s most abundant and intact specimens and artifacts documenting the history of this once prosperous gathering place. Visitors can experience the past in and around Chaco through a setting that harkens back centuries, including a worldrenowned night sky that is truly timeless.
Puebloan culture can be felt among the ruins that remain in Chaco Canyon and the surrounding lands.

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That landscape includes numerous internationally significant cultural resources, including portions of the Chaco Culture World Heritage Site and several congressionally designated Chaco Culture Archaeological Protection Sites. The masonry work and ceremonial finds uncovered in the Canyon have amazed researchers and archeologists for years. The region has become a hotbed of historical and scientific discovery. The continued exploration of the region and appreciation of this still-living culture are threatened, however, by plans for oil and gas drilling near park and historic site boundaries.

Because of its remote location, Chaco Canyon doesn’t see the same number of tourists as a place like Yellowstone National Park. But that doesn’t mean that the park isn’t an economic engine in its own right. Visitors spend almost $1 million dollars in the area every year – supporting a dozen jobs in the park and 40 more outside the boundaries. The area is also one of the best locations for archaeology in the nation, attracting universities and experts to learn more of the Puebloan culture, and the importance that Chaco Canyon had to the ancestral Puebloans. The Puebloan/Chacoan people built large stone buildings, arrayed in

and wildflower populations.

Dr. John Kantner, Ph.D. and RPA, archaeologist and VP for Academic & Institutional Advancement School for Advanced Research
“Chaco Canyon is one of the landmark monuments of human civilization in the American Southwest.

How to protect Chaco Canyon: The BLM can take action to protect the area around Chaco Canyon by creating what’s called a Master Leasing Plan. This plan would identify and evaulate the land so that sensitive and culturally valuable areas can be kept safe from drilling, and areas more appropriate for drilling can be leased.

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The Wilderness Society

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arved by the Green River’s winding course through red rock canyons, Desolation Canyon sounds like a forbidding, inhospitable place. But this stretch of eastern Utah is actually an adventurer’s playground of juniper and cottonwood trees, multicolored rocks spires, and ancient American Indian rock art and archaeological sites. It’s also a magnet for river rafters for its whitewater, scenery and history.

Desolation Canyon is one of the largest swaths of unprotected wilderness in the continental United States. The rugged terrain and geology make it a wondrous place for people to explore and for wildlife to thrive, but it has also become the target of oil and gas drilling. Recently, more than 1,300 wells were approved for drilling in this wild canyon, some of them right up to the edge of the river. This is in addition to the many more active drilling sites near Vernal, Utah – so many that visitors to Desolation Canyon often can’t find lodging because all the hotel rooms are taken by oil and gas workers.

Herm Hoops River runner
“The drilling around Desolation Canyon is terrible for the rafting industry. Desolation Canyon is one of the most beautiful, remote and wild places in the country, but it’s hard to draw people in when there isn’t any place for them to stay before their trip. All the rooms in Vernal are booked with oil and gas workers, so tourists that want to run the river often have to stay up to 90 miles away. And once they do find a place to stay, the drive to get to where the boats launch is festooned with oil and gas wells. It’s harder and harder to interest people in multiday trips through Desolation Canyon with all of the development nearby. Other places in Uintah Basin have already lost their wild character – the view from Fantasy Canyon in the Book Cliffs area is nothing but semi-trucks and gas wells. On top of all that, drilling uses up a lot of water – here in Utah, every bit of water is critical for the river, for the wildlife, for agriculture and for the people.”

Colorado and Utah—a reminder that access to special areas like Desolation Canyon is part of the reason people move their businesses and families to these states.  The economic benefits would be even greater for the surrounding towns if the lands were protected – a recent study found on average, rural western counties have a per capita income that is $436 higher for every 10,000 acres of protected public lands within their boundaries.

Threats to Desolation Canyon
In June 2012, the Bureau of Land Management approved a plan to allow nearly 1,300 oil and gas wells to be drilled in the Desolation Canyon area. More than 200 of these wells would be drilled in a part of Desolation Canyon so sensitive that it has been found suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System – reserved for the wildest and most untrammeled places. Without protection for the wilderness, wildlife, water and rock art of this area, it will continue to be at risk from drilling. This sprawling development will occupy more than five square miles of wildernessquality lands and wildlife habitat near Desolation Canyon and could make already dangerous levels of air pollution even worse. The past several years have seen ozone levels spike in the wintertime as a result of massive energy development already happening in eastern Utah.

Economic Benefits
Being outside and active in places like Desolation Canyon is a huge boon to the Utah economy. Outdoor recreation like rafting, mountain biking, and backpacking contributes $12 billion to the state economy every year, and supports more than 122,000 direct jobs. Many of these activities – and the economic benefits from them – depend on the protected wild lands in the state. Desolation Canyon provides important economic benefits.  Sixteen river guiding companies take people down Desolation Canyon and dozens more private boating trips are launched each year. More than 50% of the people using the river and wilderness are from

How to protect Desolation Canyon:

Utah: Desolation Canyon
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The BLM should use its authority to prevent drilling any of the 200 wells proposed in the wilderness-caliber lands in the Desolation Canyon area. BLM should protect the wild natural and cultural wonders of Desolation Canyon by limiting wells to the right places and with the right safeguards.

The Wilderness Society

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Colorado: Greater Dinosaur Region

I worry about the boom and bust of oil drilling; people move in, things get built up, and then the oil and gas are gone, but the buildings remain. We own a gas station too – obviously we need things like oil in the world, but you can’t drill everywhere. Places like Dinosaur should be off limits to drilling. People want to vacation in beautiful places – they don’t want to vacation in an oilfield.

Threats to Dinosaur National Monument
Over the years, and over strenuous and often successful objections, the BLM has issued dozens of oil and gas leases in the landscape that surrounds Dinosaur National Monument. This has occurred in spite of repeated objections from the National Park Service and others concerned about the potential impacts of widespread drilling on the monument’s pristine night skies and recreation and tourism opportunities. In early 2013, the BLM again attempted to issue oil and gas leases perilously close to Dinosaur. One lease would have allowed drilling right next to one of the monument’s visitors centers, while others were right next to monument entrance roads. While the BLM eventually reversed course on the leases sale – keeping more than 22,000 acres surrounding Dinosaur National Monument temporarily safe from drilling—the lands remain open to leasing.

Economic Benefits
Outdoor adventure is a major source of local economic activity in the area around Dinosaur National Monument. More than 9,000 boaters floated on the White and Yampa Rivers last year, and the permit to float the Yampa through Dinosaur National Monument is currently one of the most sought-after river permits in the lower 48. Additionally, the area is considered some of the best big game hunting in Colorado and Utah. The area hosts some of the largest migratory elk and mule deer herds in North America, while also providing refuge for the threatened greater sage grouse. Oil and gas development threatens the growing tourism industry in the area. The thriving outdoor recreation industry brings more than 192,000 people to the area – spending more than $6.7 million annually and supporting numerous local, sustainable jobs. Finding a balance between oil and gas drilling and conservation of wild public lands for recreation, and wildlife is critical to region – protecting lands that draw in tourists also protects the local economy from the “boom and bust” cycle of fossil fuel extraction.

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he lands in and around Dinosaur National Monument are etched with history – literally. Fremont and Ute peoples left their petroglyphs and pictographs on the sandstone walls and hidden alcoves along the Yampa River; the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776 brought the first Europeans to visit the Green River and observe the geographic wonder of Split Mountain; and Butch Cassidy and other outlaws used the remote basin of Browns Park to hide out and plan their next heist.
Today the area attracts a different breed of adventurer. Hunters and anglers flock to the lands around the Green and Yampa Rivers to seek out trophy elk or to fish the world-class trout fisheries. Hikers and backpackers enjoy the deep sandstone canyons and wildlife rich uplands, and each spring and summer, thousands of rafters and kayakers pour
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into the region to float the Yampa and Green Rivers through Dinosaur National Monument. However, oil and gas drilling continues to encroach. As the lands around Rangely and Vernal become more and more leased, drillers are pushing deeper into the heart of the region seeking the last remaining undeveloped lands. This quest to lease and drill every acre throughout Greater Dinosaur is having immediate consequences.

How to protect the Greater Dinosaur region: The BLM is now preparing a “master
leasing plan” for the area—a step in the right direction— but it has signaled that it will resume leasing around Dinosaur before the MLP is finished. The BLM must develop a plan that will protect the wilderness, wildlife and water that characterize Greater Dinosaur. Further, BLM should not allow new leasing in the Dinosaur region until this plan is finished in order to protect sensitive wildlife habitat and the rivers that flow through the region.

Leona Hemmerich – Owner, The Bedrock Depot, Brontosaurus Blvd, Dinosaur, Colorado.
I’m not opposed to drilling – but there needs to be a balance to it. Drilling, and potentially oil shale, requires a lot of water, and that water would come from the Yampa River that flows through Dinosaur National Monument. Rafters floating the Yampa are a big source of business for us, losing water from the river to go to drilling and oil shale development means losing sales.

The Wilderness Society

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he George Washington National Forest is home to wild native brook trout, black bears, and the headwaters of the Potomac and James Rivers that flow through two capital cities, Washington D.C. and Richmond, Va. One of the largest forests in the eastern U.S., it’s more known for its rolling hills blanketed with trees than it is for energy. But natural gas drilling, along with hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” could be coming to this wild forest.
This is a great concern to the 260,000 people of the Shenandoah Valley who get their water directly from the George Washington National Forest, and the 4.5 million people farther downstream in Washington and Richmond who rely on the forest’s clean, clear water from the forest. Fracking uses millions of gallons of fresh water, the chemicals used in the process are injected deep underground, and then wastewater (containing fracking chemicals and other substances) are stored in above ground holding ponds, where leaks and spills can potentially contaminate drinking water for millions of people.

things like timbering and energy production, we’d be in the Stone Age, but we also can’t let them destroy the quality of our lives now.”

Economic Benefits
The George Washington National Forest is an outdoorsman’s dream. Hikers can trod nearly empty trails away from the crowds that gather at nearby Shenandoah National Park, and mountain bikers enjoy more than 1,100 miles of some of the east’s finest mountain biking trails. Outdoor activities account for $13.6 billion in economic activity and more than 138,000 jobs. A lot of this activity happens in the mountains of western Virginia, just a few short hours from Washington, D.C. Fly-fishing for wild rainbow, brown, and native brook trout is a popular activity in the forest, but the extreme water use from fracking could threaten this pastime. Trout, especially the native brook trout, rely on only the cleanest water to live in – contamination from fracking could spell disaster for this iconic fish.

Threats to George Washington National Forest
The U.S. Forest Service originally disallowed horizontal drilling and fracking for natural gas within the George Washington National Forest boundaries. However, after pushback from the natural gas industry, the Forest Service began reconsidering its decision. The biggest concern is that some of the chemicals used in the fracking process could contaminate drinking water for many communities. Hydraulic fracturing is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, and companies do not have to disclose what chemicals they are using in their fracking fluid. Common additives include known toxins like benzene and arsenic. As the fracking fluid returns to the surface, it also contains other substances (and even radioactive elements) that are naturally occurring far below the earth’s surface but can harm drinking water supplies for millions of people.

George Neall – owner of Plan B Café

Virginia: George Washington National Forest

“My wife, Lisa, and I are the owners of Plan B, a community café on Main Street in Broadway, Virginia. One of the reasons we bought a small farm in Fulks Run about 8 years ago is the water; it’s clean, abundant, and pollution-free. And our farm backs up to the George Washington National Forest. “As a retired mining engineer familiar with geotechnical engineering, rock mechanics, and practical mining, I have concluded that there are too many variables and unknowns associated with actual site conditions and the whole process of fracking for it to be considered safe. We worry about the risks to ground water and surface water, the dramatic increase in heavy truck traffic, poor air quality, land clearing, soil erosion and a host of other issues associated with fracking. “Fracking in the George Washington National Forest would jeopardize the air and water quality of the area, and threaten fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, and sustainable forest harvesting. Without

How to protect the George Washington National Forest:
The U.S. Forest Service should continue its ban on horizontal drilling and fracking in the George Washington National Forest, where the risks are just too great.

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The Wilderness Society

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the world.  The Los Padres National Forest is also one of the most pristine watersheds in the world serving millions of people in a semi-arid desert region.  As I relax by, and in, the North Fork Matilija Creek that perennially flows through my property, I am grateful for the incredible aquifer perched high above in the forest.  Maybe most amazing is that here, just 60 miles from Los Angeles, you can go into the forest and not see another person for more than a week.

Economic Benefits
The Los Padres National Forest has something for everyone. Coastal tidal pools are home to sea otters and shorebirds, and elk, and black bears prowl the mountain peaks, making the forest a wildlife watcher’s paradise. Backpacking into the Los Padres backcountry provides amazing solitude, just 60 miles from Los Angeles. Outdoor adventures in California contribute more than $85 billion to California’s economy, and support more than 700,000 jobs. These adventures depend on places like the Los Padres National Forest being kept wild. Drilling in the Los Padres would threaten these adventures, and the economic benefits that come with them.

Threats to The Los Padres National Forest
The Los Padres National Forest is the main source of drinking water for the Santa Barbara area – the majority of the area’s water starts in the hills and valleys of the Los Padres. Water from the forest supports two huge industries in California – farming and winemaking. Tourism is also a huge draw to the area, but tourists generally come to see nature, not oil rigs. The forest itself is incredibly unique. Already, 875,000 acres of the forest are designated wilderness areas – the highest form of protection available for federal lands. wild forest to get to the oil deposits far below the surface. Drilling in the forest could have disastrous effects far downstream – the Los Padres is the headwaters of five rivers that make up more than 70% of the drinking water for the city of Santa Barbara. Water-intensive operations like fracking could leave the city and surrounding farms and vineyards high and dry. There is also a risk of groundwater contamination from fracking and storage of the used fracking fluid, which is laced with industrial chemicals. “This place is so amazingly special, I took each of my children backpacking in the Los Padres National Forest as soon as they were old enough to carry a pack (age 4). Introducing them to such a wild landscape at a young age is critical for cementing a love of wilderness and wild places in them for their entire lives.  There is also no question that their wilderness experience was fundamental to them becoming the outstanding adults they are today.    And it was seeing the Los Padres through my kids’ eyes that changed my life, compelling me give up a successful full-time legal career to focus on protecting this landscape and sharing it with others. “We have a lot of places to be proud of, and protect, in America, but wild places like the Los Padres National Forest are what we should be proudest and most protective of.” But leasing decisions in the area could open more than 52,000 acres to oil drilling. Drilling would be limited to 5,000 acres of surface occupancy, making horizontal drilling and fracking almost required for the wells. Drilling would also threaten the habitat of the endangered California condor - three of the drilling areas are right next to essential condor habitat. The oil industry already has 180 operating wells in less sensitive parts of the Los Padres – they don’t need to drill in fragile environmental areas.

California: Los Padres National Forest
ust barely outside the Los Angeles metropolitan area is a hidden gem of our national forests: the Los Padres National Forest. Covering more than one and three quarter million acres, the Los Padres is a haven for wildlife and adventurers alike.
The Los Padres was where one of the last wild California condors – one of the most endangered birds in the world – was found and reintroduced; and nearly two dozen other endangered species reside in the forest. It’s one of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world, with ecosystems ranging from coastal habitats to classic California redwood groves. However, the hydraulic fracturing rush is coming to California, and companies are looking to frack this

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Chris Danch – Forest Advocate and CoCreator of the Condor Wilderness Trail
“The Los Padres National Forest may be one of the most under-appreciated forests in the United States.  People look at it and just see these scrubby, brushy hills and mountains – they don’t realize that what they’re seeing is a chaparral ecosystem that is one of the most diverse, resilient ecosystems in

How to protect the Los Padres National Forest: The USFS and BLM should

fully consider the impacts of drilling in the wildest places of the Los Padres National Forest, and prohibit or restrict drilling where it would have a serious impact on water and wildlife.

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But for all the Flathead’s exceptional above ground values, the North Fork is still not permanently protected from oil and gas drilling and hardrock mining below ground. The areas has been leased by oil and gas companies in the past and it could happen again in the future unless we work to pass the North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which is currently before both chambers of Congress.

work and raise a family. Montana’s economy is growing and outperforming the broader U.S. economy; in large part due to its outdoor amenities and protected areas. This competitive advantage attracts new entrepreneurs and talent to the state and helps grow the economy.

Stuart Reiswig – owner/manager of Polebridge Mercantile
“The North Fork of the Flathead is our business – people come to experience the pristine wild area. It’s how our business survives. A lot of people stop in for our bakery, and for last-minute groceries before they head out into the backcountry, so having a wild, undrilled backcountry is pretty critical. “We were here for about a year when the Memorandum of Understanding was signed

Threats to North Fork of the Flathead River
For a hundred years, companies have tried to pull energy and minerals from the ground beneath the Flathead valley without success. Every decade saw a new threat on one or both sides of the international border which resulted in international conflict and newspaper headlines. But thanks to international cooperation, Canada and the U.S. are both working to protect the North Fork of the Flathead in their respective territories. Canada has already declared their portion of the flathead off-limits to mining and extraction.

Montana: North Fork of the Flathead River

... having a wild, undrilled backcountry is pretty critical
between the U.S. and Canada to protect the Flathead. The Canadian government has already done their part to make sure that the Flathead is protected from energy development – now it’s time to pass the North Fork Protection Act and take drilling off the table on the U.S. side as well.”

Stuart Reiswig — Owner Polebridge Mercantile

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he North Fork of the Flathead spans the U.S. and Canadian border and forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park. It is one of the wildest river valleys in the continental United States and located in a region named the “Crown of the Continent” for its clean water and unspoiled forests, mountains and wildlife. The North Fork is home to one of the densest populations of grizzly bears in the country and is a stronghold for disappearing native bull trout and west slope cutthroat trout.  

Economic Benefits
The dominant engine driving the economy of the Flathead valley is no secret. About 2 million people visit Glacier National Park and Flathead River valley areas each year, injecting $100 million into the local economy and supporting 1,400 jobs. Each year, destinations like Glacier Park set new attendance records as more Americans flock to witness the spectacular view and wildlife of the area. But the wild North Fork of the Flathead doesn’t just attract tourists; it’s also a great place to live,

On the U.S. side, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Exxon subsidiary XTO Energy have worked with Montana’s Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester to voluntarily relinquish more than 200,000 acres of mineral leases. Senators Baucus and Tester have introduced The North Fork Flathead Watershed Protection Act in the Senate and Montana’s sole congressman, Steve Daines (R), introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives to permanently withdraw 400,000 acres of the watershed on the U.S. side from any future leasing or mining claims. Much of this would be in the Flathead national forest.


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How to protect the North Fork of the Flathead River: Congress should take
immediate action on the North Fork Flathead Watershed Protection Act, and finalize the agreement to protect this wild forest.

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in a timelessness that lies still upon the plains. Seeing a pronghorn is a reminder of the rarified cadence of Otero Mesa. A dilapidated windmill, an etching on the rocks, a rough outline of someone’s home, all conjure thoughts of the past, the people who lived, toiled, fought for, and died in this remote land.”

region when Otero Mesa receives the permanent protection it deserves.

Threats to Otero Mesa
For more than a decade a number of unlikely allies have stood together in calling for the permanent protection of this rare and beautiful grassland, as well as its freshwater resources within the Salt Basin Aquifer. From members of the Mescalero Apache, to state elected officials, to religious leaders and conservationists, a wide array of people have asked for a long-term plan for Otero Mesa that would ensure that its cultural, scientific and ecological values are protected for future generations. Since 1997, when the Harvey E. Yates Company drilled a test well at the base of Alamo Mountain, there has been an ongoing effort to ensure that oil and gas drilling and mining do not permanently damage the values of this area. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in 2009 on litigation brought by the State of New Mexico, state agencies and a number of conservation groups found that the Bureau of Land Management did not adequately consider potential impacts of oil and gas development. Furthermore, the court found that BLM’s entire plan was flawed because the agency did not consider an alternative to protect all of Otero Mesa from oil and gas drilling.

Economic Benefits
The Otero Mesa Grasslands within the Chihuahuan Desert have long been recognized as “special” by the State of New Mexico, former Governor Bill Richardson, numerous state legislators and scientists, tribal and religious leaders, sportsmen, ranchers, and conservationists. Sportsmen find this area especially appealing thanks to bountiful pronghorn antelope hunting. These hunters bring muchneeded revenue to local motels and restaurants as well as outfitters and sporting good stores. As the Outdoor Industry Association has noted, preserving access to outdoor recreation protects the economy, the businesses, the communities and the people who depend on the ability to play outside. Data shows that outdoor recreation generates more than $6.1 billion in consumer spending, 68,000 direct New Mexican jobs, $1.7 billion in wages and salaries as well as $458 million in state and local tax revenue. The close proximity of Otero Mesa to the town of Alamogordo and protected areas like White Sands National Monument draw visitors from both near and far, meaning that these monetary values are increasingly important and likely to grow in the

New Mexico: Otero Mesa

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idden on the Texas-New Mexico border near Carlsbad is America’s largest remaining intact Chihuahuan grasslands, totaling over 1.2 million acres. Otero Mesa, which sits high above the Salt Basin Aquifer, offers a place for quiet reflection and recreation, hunting and cultural discovery.

In early 2001, the Bush administration and the oil and gas industry targeted Otero Mesa for drilling. Mining claims have also been staked in the area, putting added pressure on the land and wildlife.

Deni Seymour archaeologist
Deni Seymour is an archaeologist and ethnohistorian who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has dedicated her life’s work to the study of the lesser known indigenous cultures of the American Southwest. Now, as a full time researcher, she studies the many mobile peoples who called Otero Mesa home and explores their many connections to modern descendants. “Otero Mesa is the embodiment of what is important about the West. It is difficult to understand until you have stood in the middle of a vast unspoiled landscape, seeing nothing in your entire world but grasslands ringed by rugged mountains, as people have for millennia. The quiet is as immense as the history is deep. The connection to the past and the future is embedded

Thousands of ancient petroglyphs and archeological sites can be found on Otero Mesa’s volcanic Cornudas Mountains, including several ruins from the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Route. Often referred to as the Serengeti of the Southwest, Otero Mesa is also host to many native wildlife species, including mule deer, mountain lion, blacktailed prairie dogs, golden and bald eagles, the aplamado falcon, over 200 species of migratory songbirds, and boasts the state’s healthiest herd of pronghorn antelope.
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How to protect Otero Mesa: A new plan

from the BLM for the region is under development and until a final plan is adopted, Otero Mesa will continue to face a growing threat from extractive industries. The BLM’s new plan should prohibit drilling in Otero Mesa to protect its wild qualities.

The Wilderness Society

Too Wild to Drill

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Wyoming: The Red Desert

continues, I know that I need to document many of these special places now, because they will be changed forever.”

Economic Benefits
While it might be off the beaten path, the Red Desert provides unique recreational opportunities for hiking, hunting, horseback riding, scenic driving, rock hounding and birdwatching. Adobe Town in the south is a maze of multi-colored pillars, arches and canyons for remote backcountry exploration. The Northern Red Desert includes the vast scenic vistas of the Boar’s Tusk, Steamboat Mountain, Oregon Buttes, Continental Peak, Honeycomb Buttes and the Killpecker Sand Dunes and is comprised of seven BLM wilderness study areas. This area is prized for its big game hunting and access for many uses. Additionally, the archeological, historical and cultural heritage of the Red Desert landscape is of national significance and remains in a relatively undamaged state.

Threats to The Red Desert
Sprawling over more than 400,000 acres, the greater Red Desert is called the “crown jewel” of Wyoming’s desert wilderness. But much of it, especially around Adobe Town, is potentially open to oil and gas drilling – casting a dark shadow over this wild landscape.

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he Red Desert of southwest Wyoming is a remote, wild landscape of multi-colored buttes, rims, badlands, towering sand dunes and vast open spaces. Wyoming citizens have sought to protect the area since 1898 - first as a Winter Game Preserve, then later as a National Park, National Wildlife Refuge, wild horse preserve and a North American Antelope Range.
This high, cold desert environment supports a large diversity of wildlife, including mule deer, antelope, a rare desert elk herd, raptors and rare songbirds like Scott’s oriole and the blue-gray flycatcher. Bands of wild horses roam this area of volcanic rock formations, hoodoos and sand dunes. From the foreboding badlands of Adobe Town to the continental divide at South Pass, Wyoming’s Red Desert is a landscape chronicling the history
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of the West. Native Americans frequented the area following migrating wildlife and left behind a rich legacy of cultural sites and petroglyphs. The Oregon, Outlaw, Mormon and Pony Express Trails cross through the area, and these lands were also the hideouts and haunts of such legendary characters as Butch Cassidy and his Powder Wash Gang, Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger. However, oil and gas drilling are encroaching on Adobe Town and other parts of the Red Desert. The Bureau of Land Management continues to issue leases in the area surrounding Adobe Town, threatening the wildlife and historical features of the area. Parts of Adobe Town and much of the Jack Morrow Hills area in the northern Red Desert are protected by the BLM as Wilderness Study Areas, but thousands more acres are still at risk.

siblings] learned a strong environmental ethic as we grew up. As a photographer, and because of who I am, I have a strong connection to the plants, animals and the natural landscape as well as with the energy you feel from the natural world. “Photography is my livelihood, and it’s getting harder and harder to photograph special natural places like Adobe Town and the Red Desert that don’t have signs of human activity or development. Industrial development like that of an oil field in an environment changes the landscape, often disrupts wildlife which then changes the area’s flora, thereby altering the entire ecosystem. Add in smoggy air from the wells and dust from trucks, and there are some cases where you just can’t get decent photographs anymore. “It seems odd that such special and unique places like Adobe Town are threatened with drilling when there are so many other places, especially previously impacted areas, where energy is available. As the relentless pressure to drill

While just under half of Adobe Town is protected by the wilderness study area, even that protection is not permanent. In addition, the parts that aren’t protected could forever lose their wild character due to intensive drilling – becoming dotted with well pads, and crisscrossed by a spider web of roads and pipelines. While the BLM has leased many of the acres in and around the Red Desert, these leases are often held so long that they expire without any drilling taking place. Under BLM’s plan for the Jack Morrow Hills in the Northern Red Desert, the agency is phasing out some of these leases, a trend that we need to see continued. The Red Desert of Wyoming represents the best of our western heritage.

Dan Hayward, professional photographer
“I’ve been a professional photographer for over 30 years, and I was blessed that we [myself and my

How to protect The Red Desert and Adobe Town: The BLM is currently developing
management plans for the Red Desert. These plans should protect backcountry recreation and wilderness-quality lands for everyone to enjoy.

The Wilderness Society

Too Wild to Drill

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The Thompson Divide area has been ranched for more than a century, and it remains one of the strongest enclaves of traditional ranching culture on the Western Slope. There are 35 operations grazing cattle on federal allotments within the Thompson Divide. These ranches preserve thousands of acres of increasingly scarce winter range for deer and elk, and play an essential role in the larger ecosystem. Unfortunately, oil and gas development is knocking at its door. Drilling in the Thompson Divide would threaten more than 15 watersheds in the region – threatening drinking water for communities and ranchers, and the fish and wildlife in the area. Farther downstream, farmers in Colorado’s North Fork Valley rely on water from the Thompson Divide to irrigate their crops.

Tributaries to the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers also provide abundant opportunities to catch native trout. Outdoor recreation activities like hiking, fishing, and hunting help form the backbone of the economy in Gunnison, Pitkin and Garfield Counties. Hiking, biking and other outdoor activities generate more than $12 million in the area. More than 26,000 people in the Thompson Divide region are employed in the travel and tourism industries, with another 5,000 in recreation and 2,600 in hunting and fishing. Across Colorado, outdoor recreation is a major economic driver – creating more than $13.2 billion in economic activity, and supporting more than 124,000 jobs. Leaving the Thompson Divide’s unique and treasured lands undrilled will help ensure long-term economic prosperity and healthy communities in Colorado’s central mountain region. Protection will help us achieve an elusive balance that Coloradans have been trying to find for generations - a balance between conservation and energy development.

Bill Fales – owner/operator of Cold Mountain Ranch
“Keeping oil and gas drilling out of the Thompson Divide is important to me for a whole host of reasons – starting with water. We run a grass-fed cattle operation, and even a perception of contamination in the water hurts the market for our cattle. “More drilling activity in the area means more dust in the air – more dust means the snowpack will melt sooner, and there will be less water when we need it. The roads that would have to be built would also affect our herds; you simply can’t put a gate across a road – we’d have to put up miles of fencing as well so that more of our cattle could not wander off. “Many of the ranchers in this community depend on the Forest Service to graze their cattle. Drilling here would devastate the community.”

Threats to Thompson Divide
In 2003 the Bush Administration issued 81 mineral leases in the Thompson Divide area covering approximately 105,000 acres. The vast majority of these leases were sold, without environmental review or public involvement, at the statutory minimum of $2.00 per acre. These leases also had little to no protections for landowners, who could see their property invaded by trucks and well pads from the oil companies.

Western Colorado: Thompson Divide

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he Thompson Divide is home to ranchers, blue-ribbon trout streams, and some of the most sought after hunting grounds in Colorado. The 221,000 acre swath of ranchlands and mid-altitude forests is also the source of the region’s agricultural and drinking water. Hikers, mountain bikers and campers enjoy the unparalleled trails throughout the forests, and climbers scale the Thompson Creek Fins.

How to protect the Thompson Divide:
Legislation has been introduced by Senator Michael Bennet to withdraw lands from future leasing in the Thompson Divide. This would ensure that the wild lands in the area would be kept safe for traditional uses like ranching, hunting and angling, as well as the wide array of recreational opportunities that drive the region’s economy.

Economic Benefits
The Thompson Divide is home to some of the best trout fishing in the world. The iconic Roaring Fork River is the centerpiece and is a blue ribbon fishery.

The Wilderness Society

Too Wild to Drill

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I
Wyoming Range

t’s been nearly a decade since the federal government first sparked a firestorm by targeting the Wyoming Range for new energy development. Since then folks from all backgrounds have worked to keep energy development out of the Wyoming Range – first by passing the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, which withdrew 1.2 million acres from new oil and gas leasing, and then through the voluntary purchase of grandfathered energy leases in the Hoback Basin in the northern part of the Range.  To this day however, the original conflict that began the fight for the Wyoming Range remains unresolved. 44,700 acres – located in the gateway to the Wyoming Range – remain under threat with a leasing decision pending this year.

“Wyoming is a pretty big state – there is plenty of room to be able to have oil and gas drilling, and protect the wildest places at the same time.”

Economic Benefits
While visitors are more likely to crowd nearby Grand Teton National Park, the Wyoming Range provides areas for local Wyoming residents to hunt and fish and camp with their families. The Range is renowned for its big game, including mule deer, elk and moose, while an abundance of clean streams create a safe refuge for native cutthroat trout. Because of this, hunting and fishing alone from these 44,700 acres contributes $5.2 million annually to local economies. In addition to hunters and fisherman, the eastern gateway is regularly used by backpackers and hikers who traverse the 70-mile Wyoming Range National Scenic Trail which runs along the crest of the range at more than 9,000 feet. The area is also heavily used by snowmobilers and skiers in the winter.

Economic Benefits
These lands along the gateway to the Wyoming Range were originally offered for lease to oil and gas companies by the Forest Service in 2005 and 2006. Sparking a grassroots movement of protest and a series of challenges by local outfitters, sportsmen, former Gov. Dave Freudenthal, conservationists, and labor unions, these contested leases have remained in legal limbo ever since.  In 2011, the Forest Service made a decision to cancel the lease offerings on the entire 44,700 acres, but when two energy companies appealed, the agency withdrew the decision in order to conduct further analysis. If the 44,700 acres of leases are validated in the upcoming environmental review decision, at least five energy companies could try to advance drilling projects in the middle of popular elk hunting camps, grazing allotments, fishing holes and camping areas.  Stanley Energy, a wildcat outfit out of Colorado has floated a proposal to drill 200 gas wells from 8 well pads, each covering 50 acres. Although it’s been almost eight years since these areas were first offered for leasing, the gateway to the Wyoming Range is still too special to drill.

Aaron Bannon, National Outdoor Leadership School
“There’s no way around it – drilling in the Wyoming Range would end some of our programs. If drilling were to occur on the 44,700 acres that are unprotected, it’s possible we would have to cease all of our winter operations there, and severely curtail our summer ones. “Losing the summer operations would be a huge loss. These are our adventures for young students, 15 and 16 years old, and in many cases this is the first time they’ve ever been backpacking. They get out there and learn critical life and leadership skills, and a big part of the experience is being in the wilderness of the Wyoming Range. “Losing our winter programs is equally devastating – the areas that are unprotected amount to our entire winter course area in this Range. Our winter courses teach skills like wilderness rescue – skills that benefit search and rescue workers in parks and wild areas across the nation. We already had to stop having programs on the White River National Forest in Utah because the nearby drilling activity was too intense.

How to protect the Wyoming Range:
The U.S. Forest Service should keep these leases from being developed, keeping the Wyoming Range wild and safe from drilling.

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IMAGES:
Introduction (page 4) — Delicate Arch and LaSalle Mountains, Arches NP. Photo by: © Fred Hanselmann Places Protected (page 5) — Pine Ridge Trail - Los Padres NF. Photo by: Miguel Vieira Utah: Arches National Park: (Page 6) — Arches National Park. Photo by: istockphoto.com/Rezus (Page 7) — Landscape Arch - Arches NP. Photo by: Daveynin Alaska: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Page 8) — Coastal Plain - ANWR. Photo by: Lincoln Else (Page 9) — Caribou calf; Wildflowers and tent. Photo by: Linocln Else New Mexico: Chaco Canyon (Page 10) — Pueblo del arroyo - Chaco Canyon -Photo by: credit istockphoto.com/LifeSizeImages (Page 11) — Fajada Butte and Chaco Canyon - Chaco Canyon. Photo by: oldmantravels Utah: Desolation Canyon (Page 12) — Green River - Gunnison Butte. Photo by: © Fred Hanselmann (Page 13) — Green River, Cottonwoods, River. Photo by: © Fred Hanselmann Colorado: Greater Dinosaur Region (Page 14) — Yampa Sunset - Dinosaur. Photo by: Jackson Frishman (Page 15) — Yampa Firelight - Dinosaur. Photo by: Jackson Frishman Virginia: George Washington National Forest (Page 16) — Crabtree Falls - GWNF. Photo by: iStockphoto/vagrant83 (Page 17) — Tibbet Knob - GWNF. Photo by: iStockphoto/carrollmt California: Los Padres National Forest (Page 18) — Pine Ridge Trail - Los Padres NF. Photo by: Miguel Vieira (Page 19) — Condor - Los Padres NF. Photo by: US Fish and Wildlife Service Montana: North Fork of the Flathead River (Page 20) — Bear Grass - Flathead River. Photo by: International League of Conservation Photographers (Page 20) — Flathead River, North Fork. Photo by: Joe Riis New Mexico: Otero Mesa (Page 22) — Otero Mesa - Grasslands. Photo by: NMWA (Page 23) — Otero Mesa - bird. Photo by: NMWA Wyoming: The Red Desert (Page 24) — Adobe Town - Skull Creek Rim. Photo by: Dan Hayward Page (25) — Adobe Town. Photo by: Dan Hayward Western Colorado: Thompson Divide (Page 26) — Thompson Divide - CO. Photo by: EcoFlight (Page 27) — Mt Sopris - Thompson Divide. Photo by: Greg Watts Wyoming Range (Page 28) — Wyoming Range Upper Hoback. Photo by: Dave Showalter with aerial support from Lighthawk. (Page 29) — Wyoming Range, Lease Block. Photo by: Jared White Page 30 — Arches National Park - Arches NP. Photo by: Betsy Weber

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For more information please contact: Bob Ekey, Senior Director, Energy Campaign (406) 586-1600 bob_ekey@tws.org Jennifer Dickson, Communications Director, Energy Campaign (303) 650-5818 jennifer_dickson@tws.org Neil Shader, Communications Manager, Energy Campaign (202) 429-3941 neil_shader@tws.org

July 2013
Cover photo: Jared White

Our mission is to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places.
1615 M Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 32

(202) 833-2300

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