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Colorado

North Fork of the Gunnison

© Jim Brett

Highlighted Value

Clean Air and Water

The North Fork of the Gunnison River makes its way out of Colorado’s wild forests in the Thompson Divide area, through the fertile North Fork Valley, finally joining the mighty Gunnison River just after it roars out of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Locally referred to as the North Fork, this river emerges from some of Colorado’s most spectacular high-country wildlands and sustains a thriving farming and ranching community and Colorado’s highest concentration of organic farms.

The Threat

Drilling

In 2011 and 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed leasing public lands in the North Fork Valley for oil and gas development. The community joined together to oppose the lease sales and proposed a locally grown vision for the North Fork Valley that would keep energy development away from sensitive areas. The BLM agreed to consider the North Fork Citizens’ Alternative in the agency’s land use plan revision, but so far has not identified the community vision as the preferred approach. With the Trump administration now in charge of finalizing the land use plan, the future for the North Fork Valley is more threatened than ever.

“Anything that threatens the safety of our food crops threatens everything we do.”
Jeff Schwartz
Owner, Delicious Orchards and Big B’s Fabulous Juices, Paonia, Colorado
Stop reckless drilling in Colorado’s agriculture hub

Potential oil and gas development and its associated water pollution threaten the hub of organic agriculture in Colorado’s North Fork of the Gunnison River. The Bureau of Land Management must adopt the North Fork Citizen’s Alternative in the final land use plan to protect the landscape’s resources and honor the community’s vision of safeguarding the valley from energy development. Please sign below to show support in protecting the North Fork from careless drilling!