Letter: Praying the Thompson Divide will remain as it is | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Praying the Thompson Divide will remain as it is

Meg Olenick
Aspen

As a professional skier, I am fortunate to travel all around the world to compete and explore. But no matter where I am or what I’m doing — skiing in the French Alps, or surfing in Central America, or whatever — there is no place as special for me as the mountains in the backyard of my hometown, Carbondale.

The Thompson Divide is a place where I spent my childhood chasing my older brothers around the woods on family hikes. It is where I seek solitude and quiet in order to appreciate everything my life has become. I ride my bike there, I hike there, I camp there. My love of the outdoors and my curiosity about the world began in the genuinely wild and pristine place known as Thompson Divide.

I pray the Thompson Divide will remain as it is for generations to come — free from oil and gas development, free from noise and dust disturbing the wildlife and polluting our watersheds. Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service for recognizing this week what we in the Crystal River Valley have known for our entire lives – the Thompson Divide is a special place which should not be developed. Period.

The final EIS issued by the Forest Service calls for protection from oil and gas leasing in the divide area for the next 15-20 years. This is an important first step, but it needs to be followed up on by the Bureau of Land Management. Specifically, the BLM should rule that the expired and undeveloped leases in Thompson Divide are in fact no longer valid. Only then will I feel like we are protecting a place that is very special in my heart.


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