Rally aims to keep drilling from Thompson Divide
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Area opponents of gas drilling in the Thompson Divide region are staging a rally Saturday from 4-7 p.m. at Two Rivers Park, located on the north side of the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs.
The rally, organized by the Unified for Thompson Divide organization, will feature a barbecue, a river flotilla, and a bicycle rally.
It is billed as an opportunity for Thompson Divide activists from around the region to gather and discuss the issues involved while listening to live music and partaking in a variety of other activities.
The Thompson Divide region comprises roughly 220,000 acres of mostly public lands in the backcountry southwest of Glenwood Springs, where several energy companies hold large leases to drill for natural gas and other hydrocarbons.
The industry, however, has run into opposition from local activists working with such organizations as the Thompson Divide Coalition (TDC) and the Wilderness Workshop to prevent the drilling.
The barbecue will be anchored by free hamburgers supplied by Crystal River Meats in Carbondale, a local business that has supported the TDC.
Live music will be provided by All The Pretty Horses and the Defiance String Band, and there will be children’s activities, speakers and yoga classes in the afternoon.
Parking is limited at Two Rivers Park, and organizers are asking that participants either carpool, ride a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus, join the bike rally or be part of a special flotilla of boats that will use the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers as the means of transportation.
The bike rally is scheduled to start with a gathering of cyclists in Carbondale, who will ride to Glenwood Springs to join other cyclists for the final leg to Two Rivers Park.
Bike rally organizer Alison Birkenfeld said her co-organizer Kristen Levey is asking cyclists to meet her at 2:15 p.m. in Carbondale, at Aloha Cyclery on Highway 133, to make the ride into Glenwood Springs.
The Carbondale group will connect with Birkenfeld and more cyclists at a small bicycle parking area along the Rio Grande Trail, adjacent to Rosebud Cemetery in South Glenwood Springs, and cycle from there to Two Rivers Park.
For more information on the flotilla, call the Thompson Divide Coalition (355-4223) or the Wilderness Workshop (963-3977). Organizers say the flotilla mainly involves an undetermined number of boaters using their personal crafts to ferry participants to the rally.
Organizers say the rally is supposed to be more for entertainment than for politics, but a number of speakers are scheduled to address the assembled crowd.
According to one of the organizers, Alex Bethel, the speakers will include local business owner Sharill Hawkins of the Four Mile Bed & Breakfast; Colorado Mountain College Youth Outreach Coordinator Yesenia Arreola; a local mountain biker familiar with the Thompson Divide terrain; Glenwood Springs Mayor Leo McKinney; TDC Director Zane Kessler; Lucien Blakemore and Lea Linse, two recent graduates from Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale; Colorado Sen. Gail Schwartz, and Jock Jacober, a member of the TDC and an owner of Crystal Meats.
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