Roaring Fork High Schoolers Fly with Representative Velasco

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Roaring Fork High Schoolers Fly with Representative Velasco

Date: 01/08/2024     State: CO     Issues: Student Education, Wild Lands     Partners: Roaring Fork High School, Wilderness Workshop Airport Origin : Aspen, CO    


Students at Roaring Fork Highschool in the PreCollegiate Program took off over Aspen with Colorado Representative Elizabeth Velasco and Wilderness Workshop.

Unfortunately, there was poor weather and we landed quickly after departure. The overflights were re-scheduled but our time at the airport provided a great opportunity for students to learn from a Colorado Representative and experts on the BLMs new management plan for Western Colorado that will determine how 2 million acres of public lands and minerals will be managed for decades to come. This process will determine if familiar landscapes, including the Roaring Fork River, Book Cliffs, and Grand Hogback, are protected from oil and gas developments. Most of these polluting developments take place near areas with greater BIPOC populations, so revamping this management plan is critical to protecting all people and advancing equity. While the BLM is still looking into multiple management practices, this is a great opportunity to close lands to natural gas production and prioritize our climate, wildlife habitat, recreation, and western Colorado communities.

We learned about the efforts to protect the Thompson Divide, a 225,000 acre swath of wild land right in our backyard. For over a decade, local community members, wildlife advocates, recreationists, hunters, farmers, and elected leaders have been advocating to preserve this beloved landscape. The Forest Service is considering a 20-year ban on drilling in the Thompson Divide, which would protect public lands, local livelihoods, wildlife, clean air, and clean water from new mining and oil and gas leases. The public comment period for the Thompson Divide mineral withdrawal closed yesterday, and with your comments recorded, we are hopeful that the mineral withdrawal will become law!

It was inspiring to meet these students and discuss how we can all help to protect wild spaces, clean water, and a healthy climate. We encourage our flight passengers and students to share their voice and be a strong advocate for the environment and what they believe in!

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