Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been working for years to secure greater certainty for Colorado’s Thompson Divide and the quality hunting and fishing experiences it provides. Now we need your help to secure a 20-year mineral withdrawal that will provide more time to secure permanent protection through the CORE Act.
With its bounty of fish and wildlife habitat and rangelands supporting local communities, the Thompson Divide area remains critically important to local ranchers, hunters, and anglers in Colorado. The three primary game management units that span the Thompson Divide are among the most desirable to elk and mule deer hunters in the state. The largely roadless area serves as year-round habitat for those and other wildlife species, but notably supports more than 34,000 acres of elk migration corridors. In 2011, more than 5,000 deer and elk tags were available by draw to hunters within the Thompson Divide. Hunters are also able to purchase over-the-counter bull elk tags that keep public land hunting available to the average person - something increasingly important as access to quality opportunities becomes more scarce.
The Thompson Divide is a coldwater fisheries stronghold and contains several conservation populations of Colorado River cutthroat trout, considered critical to the recovery and maintenance of the species to its native range. Among the 1,550 miles of stream radiating in all directions off Thompson Divide, about 83 miles qualify as native cutthroat stream habitat along with nearly 12 acres of cutthroat lake habitat. Several of these waters are also designated as “outstanding natural waters” by the state of Colorado for their pristine water quality. The northern boundary of the withdrawal and protection area includes 4.4 miles of Gold Medal fishing water along the Roaring Fork River, and Thompson Divide’s headwater tributaries extend to additional high-quality fisheries in the North Fork of the Gunnison River, the Crystal River and the Colorado River, which sustain surrounding retailers, fishing guides and outfitters that help drive the local recreation economy.
Some places are appropriate for energy development and the Thompson Divide simply is not one of them. Local stakeholders have worked diligently to propose a management model that retains important uses like ranching, hunting, and fishing. Take action now and tell BLM that you support this approach and this proposed 20-year mineral withdrawal.