Located in southwestern Colorado, the San Juan National Forest encompasses 2 million acres of wilderness and wildlife habitat and is considered the wildest region of the Southern Rockies. In the southern foothills of the national forest is the HD Mountains Roadless Area (HDs), named after an old cattle brand. The area has never experienced significant commercial or industrial development and is among the last few sections of the San Juan Basin not already drilled for gas and oil.
Current industry plans for drilling the HD Mountains, as approved by the U.S. Forest Service, and a proposed lease sale on another 7,000 acres will lace the currently roadless mountains with at least 11 miles of new roads cut into some of the steepest and most rugged terrain in the San Juan Mountains. The roads and gas pads will obliterate remaining stands of unlogged, old-growth ponderosa pine forests, many over 300 years old. Also damaged would be several undeveloped, low-elevation watersheds. Current appeals are contesting court rulings allowing the gas drilling projects in the San Juan National Forest.
|Images ( View Full Gallery )|