Mt. Emmons Proposed Mineral Withdrawal

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Mt. Emmons Proposed Mineral Withdrawal

Date: 06/15/2023     State:     Issues: Mining, Oil and Gas, Wild Lands     Partners: American Whitewater, High Country Conservation Advocates Airport Origin : Gunnison, CO    


Advance support for a newly proposed 20-year mineral withdrawal that would protect the Thompson Divide and areas like Mt Emmons.

The overflight took us over the flanks of Mt. Emmons (known also as Red Lady), which towers over Crested Butte, and is the site of a long-standing battle over mining claims and management of precious lands and waters. Mt. Emmons Mining Company (MEMC), the owner of mine claims on Mt. Emmons has initiated a federal review process for a land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service on properties in the Gunnison National Forest. MEMC has claimed that the stated objective of the proposal was to effectively end the possibility of mining on Red Lady while allowing for more efficient management of on-site water treatment operations for historic acid mine drainage.

Much of the land around Mt. Emmons is now also part of the Thompson Divide Mineral Withdrawal, a 20-year protection applauded by a diverse coalition of residents, recreationists, ranchers, business owners, and local governments have been pushing for permanent protection of the Thompson Divide for decades.

EcoFlight and our partners at High Country Citizens Alliance are excited to see positive progress toward protection of Red Lady, and will continue to advocate for transparency throughout this process and ultimately for permanent protection of this vital landscape.

The Crystal River, just over the Elk Mountains, is a watershed prized for its community and ecological values. A community-led stakeholder group has convened to identify avenues for permanent protection of the river, including the possibility of a Wild & Scenic River designation.

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