Gas Leasing in the North Fork Valley
Our overflight examined the locations of proposed and existing natural gas wells and infrastructure in the beautiful North Fork Valley near Paonia. We contrasted this relatively quiet agrarian and undeveloped landscape of the North Fork to the dramatic natural gas fields near Rifle. The North Fork Valley, like the neighboring Thompson Divide, occupies a precarious position at the edge of economically-viable natural gas development in the otherwise highly productive Piceance Basin. Citizens, business owners, environmental advocates, and local governments have long argued that any marginal benefit of mineral extraction is far outweighed by the benefits of maintaining the area’s vibrant ecosystems, recreation- and agriculture-based economies, and aesthetic character. However, threats from mineral interests continually evolve in response to BLM leasing, and the North Fork Valley enjoys no permanent protection from future natural gas expansion.
EcoFlight and our partners at Citizens for a Healthy Community are working to engage North Fork Valley community members in a critical and timely discussion about the North Fork’s future to protect the healthy rivers, forests, and lifestyles that we all cherish in this beautiful part of our state.
Click for geo-referenced photos from your flight this .kmz file is best viewed in Google Earth