North Fork Valley Big Game Units At Risk: 52, 521, 53, 411, 63
Other UFO Planning Area Big Game Units At Risk: 61, 62, 65


Clean air and clean water are the lifeblood of the North Fork Valley. Clean, safe water is crucial whether you’re an elk, fish or a human. The BLM’s preferred alternative in its Draft Resource Management Plan for the Uncompahgre Field Office  (UFO) proposes to open close to 1 million acres to oil and gas leasing. The UFO Planning Area consists of Delta, Gunnison, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel Counties in southwestern Colorado. The planning area does not include the Gunnison Gorge or Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas, which are managed under separate RMPs. 

The BLM’s preferred alternative is a roadmap to industrializing the North Fork Valley with large-scale oil and gas development: multi-well well pads, compressor stations, storage tanks, pipelines, roads, noise, air pollution and risks of contaminating surface waters.

  • Roads, and the activity from motorized vehicles, tend to move elk off and away. Hunter success is therefore reduced in an area filled with roads. Roads can also increase sedimentation into streams, potentially damaging fish habitat and reducing fish populations. Where you don’t have fish, you won’t have good fishing.
  • The North Fork Valley is home to gold medal fishing and our local BLM lands provide some of the best hunting experiences not just in Colorado but nationally. Prime hunting grounds potentially threatened by leasing and development, include areas above Paonia at the base of Mount Lamborn/Landsend and much of the country north of Hotchkiss.  In terms of wildlife habitat, critical areas are the transitional zones of habitat, the middle ground between private land and national forests.  In the North Fork, these are lands managed by the BLM that are above the valley floor (between Hotchkiss and Paonia) and below/adjacent to Gunnison National Forest and Grand Mesa National Forest.  They are typified by sagebrush and juniper and are crucial winter ranges, migration corridors and year round habitat for not only big game, but many other species (numerous birds, reptiles, small mammals).


Ask County Commissioners To Support A No-Leasing Alternative To Prevent Backdoor Industrial Oil and Gas Zoning Through Federal Resource Management Planning