Tourism value longer lived than resource value at Roan Plateau |

Tourism value longer lived than resource value at Roan Plateau

Dear Editor,

I wanted to submit some comments regarding the management plan for the Roan Plateau. I am in strong support for Alternative F as it goes the furthest in safeguarding the special values that make the Roan Plateau what it is today. I have visited the Roan Plateau area on numerous occasions mainly to hike and mountain bike and get away from the hustle and bustle of town. Let me assure you that it is indeed quite a beautiful and special place. As we build and develop more and more into the outlying areas of our National Forests and BLM land, I think it is important to take a step back and consider the big picture.

It seems that I have heard time and time again that tourism is the most important aspect of our local economies on the Western Slope. With the current elections taking place, all I hear from the local and state politicians is how creating jobs and protecting our economy are their biggest priorities. It is clear that hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping are activities that currently take place in the Roan Plateau area. These activities contribute large amounts of money to our local hotels, restaurants, guide services, stores, etc. The best part about these activities is that they require very little overhead to maintain and they are consistent with keeping the environment safe and clean. They are also renewable forms of income to Rifle, Battlement Mesa, and the surrounding communities that will last indefinitely.

Now compare this with oil and gas development. Great measures have to be taken in order to extract these minerals from the land. Roads, wells, and pipelines have to be built, which disturbs the land, plants, and animals and ruins the scenic value of the area. Studies have not really been done to assess the impacts on air and water quality for the people who live near these structures. Most importantly, oil and gas wells are a one-time source of revenue. Once the minerals are gone, they’re gone. No more revenue for the Western Slope or the state of Colorado. The worst part is that now the area has also been ruined for tourism and recreation.

Drilling for oil and gas is really just a symptom of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. That problem is lack of renewable energy. Government needs to be spending taxpayer money on research for solar energy to heat homes and hydrogen-cell-powered cars that don’t use fossil fuels. So in the end, we destroy another area for short-term value rather than looking at the long-term picture.

In conclusion, I support Alternative F because of the healthy balance that it will provide for the Roan Plateau and surrounding area. It still allows oil and gas development in the lower areas of the cliffs where there is already development and infrastructure such as roads and pipelines in place. It will protect the highlands area allowing the area to retain its natural and wild character that will make it a tourist and local destination for relaxing, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, and off-roading for years to come. The only suggestion I would make to change Alternative F is to add the Hubbard Mesa Special Recreation Management Area to the plan.

Thank you for your consideration of my comments. I hope that you will join me in expressing your opinions, whatever they might be, to our County Commissioners and other local elected officials. This is the only way that they can truly represent the interests of the people who live here and not just the interests of the oil and gas industry.


Brian D. Magee

Glenwood Springs

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