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Bureau of Land Management

BLM considers canceling Thompson Divide leases

Nov 18, 2015
Marci Krivonen

The Bureau of Land Management is open to canceling more than half of the undeveloped oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide. The leases in question are for Forest Service land but the BLM manages the mineral rights underneath. The BLM is reviewing the environmental impacts of what can be done with those leases, and has released the list of management options.

Marci Krivonen

The Forest Service was met by protesters Tuesday (9/2/15) in a remote area in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale. The agency is starting a review of a proposal to drill an exploratory well. But, the group gathered doesn’t want any natural gas drilling. They say the area’s natural environment is too valuable. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s tough to imagine coming up here for anything other than peaceful moments in the great outdoors. But about 40 people Tuesday maneuvered mud-caked roads to protest drilling. Some even slept over.

EcoFlight

The Pitkin County Commissioners are unhappy with what they’ve seen so far in a BLM plan for existing oil and gas leases on the Thompson Divide. They’re crafting a letter to the agency. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Pitkin County gets an early look at the BLM’s preliminary draft Environmental Impact Statement because it’s a cooperating agency. A public version will be released in November. It’ll decide what to do with more than two dozen undeveloped oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale. Pitkin County wants the leases canceled.

County commissioner fights "land transfer movement"

Jul 28, 2015
Facebook/Rachel Richards

In June the Pitkin County Commissioners sent a resolution to Colorado’s congressional delegation, decrying a national effort to transfer federal lands to state ownership. Advocates say it would improve access, environmental health and productivity on land managed by the Forest Service and BLM. Commissioner Rachel Richards told Marci Krivonen the effort would spell trouble for Pitkin County.

Rachel Richards is a Pitkin County Commissioner. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen. In future weeks, we’ll air the other side of the argument.

Andrea J Holland

A wildfire caused by lightning near Glenwood Springs cost between $80,000 and $100,000 to fight. It’s now fully controlled.

The Red Canyon Fire started Friday afternoon in dry juniper, pinyon and sagebrush. It burned seven acres on BLM land about three miles southeast of Glenwood. David Boyd with the BLM says two helicopters and between 50 and 60 firefighters worked it.

"When you have a fire this close to the community, you want to keep it small. One reason it stayed small was because we had so many people who could respond to it."

blm.gov

Recreation and oil and gas development in our region are impacted by a new plan released Wednesday (7/8/15) by the Bureau of Land Management. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

The Resource Management Plan for the Colorado River Valley Field Office applies to BLM lands in six counties including Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin. It updates a 1984 plan and directs management for the next two decades.

Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is fighting a national effort to transfer federal public lands to states. The county plans to send a resolution to congressional representatives in Washington DC. 

One group advocating for state control of federal public lands is the American Lands Council. It argues state control would improve access, environmental health and productivity on land managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Kathleen Tadvick/Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The BLM says a new federal plan for helping a bird in Garfield County is necessary because it aims to protect habitat. The agency, and the Forest Service, announced the new approach last week. The number of greater sage grouse is declining and the idea is to keep the bird off the endangered species list. Marci Krivonen spoke with David Boyd, a public affairs specialist for the BLM in northwest Colorado.

David Boyd works out of the BLM office in Silt. After a review and protest period, the plan will go into effect, probably sometime in July.

fs.usda.gov

The Garfield County Commissioners are questioning the science behind a handful of reports about the greater sage grouse. The Bureau of Land Management is using the data in a document that will guide management of the bird’s habitat in northwestern Colorado. 

Ranger Answers Basalt Mountain Burn Questions

Apr 15, 2015

Karen Schroyer is the ranger for the Aspen and Sopris district in the White River National Forest. Her agency, along with the Bureau of Land Management, the National Elk Foundation, the Basalt and El Jebel fire departments and the Upper Colorado River Fire Agency, burned between 1,100 and 1,300 acres on Basalt Mountain last weekend. She wants the public to know the facts behind Sunday’s prescribed burn on Basalt Mountain. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason.

http://www.thearmchairexplorer.com/colorado/glenwood_springs_colorado

The White River National Forest headquarters in Glenwood Springs has re-opened for business. The National Forest Service says the supervisor and staff returned this morning to their newly renovated offices at 900 Grand Avenue. Among the upgrades are improved heating and cooling systems, energy saving electrical, water saving plumbing as well as the removal of asbestos from the historic building. For the past two years, the 30-plus employees of the White River National Forest have worked remotely from ranger stations in Rifle, Carbondale, Minturn and the BLM office in Silt.

BLM announces Proposed Oil and Gas Amendment

Mar 29, 2015
Bureau of Land Management, White River Office

The Bureau of Land Management has released its proposed changes to an oil and gas management plan that would affect part of northern Garfield County. The BLM’s amendment to the White River Field Office Resource Management Plan aims to reduce the impact of increased oil and gas production. That would be for an area spanning 1.7 million acres. Besides Garfield County, the area includes parts of Rio Blanco and Moffat Counties. 

White River National Forest

The White River National Forest released a “conservation-minded” plan Tuesday for future oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups are cheering the plan, saying it proposes closing nearly all of the Thompson Divide to future leasing. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Your Morning News - November 26th, 2014

Nov 26, 2014

Ski Co and the 2015 Season

With the lifts already cranking on Aspen Mountain and a scheduled opening day Thursday at Snowmass, the Aspen Skiing Company is positive about the season ahead.

The Aspen Skiing Company is opening new terrain and new family amenities on three of its four mountains. Buttermilk may see the most change with a reconfigured base area, a remodeled Inn at Aspen and a new children’s center called “Hideout.” Mike Kaplan is President and CEO of the Skiing Company.

Your Evening News - November 25th, 2014

Nov 25, 2014

Aspen’s “Free Parking” Ends Wednesday Morning

Free Parking ends tomorrow in Aspen. After putting in new meters over the past week… parking rates go back in effect at ten tomorrow morning. The new meters follows a parking scam with pre-paid debit cards that bilked the city out of several hundred thousand dollars over the past few years. 81 new meters were in place as of Monday. Meanwhile, the Aspen Times reports that the City Manager’s office will search for a new parking director after the first of the year as Parking Department employee Blake Fitch continues as interim director.

Mountain Edition - September 18th, 2014

Sep 18, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Ahead of the mid-term election in November, polls differ on who’s ahead in Colorado’s most contested races.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is asking local governments to help pay for Glenwood’s Grand Avenue bridge. Garfield County has agreed to contribute millions.

Colorado Mountain College administrators are turning their focus to what kids are learning before they walk in the door.

And, a new preschool program serving low-income kids is using lessons about the brain to encourage learning.

Bureau of Land Management

The Colorado branch of the federal Bureau of Land Management is welcoming a new district manager. Joe Meyer will be in charge of the Northwest corner of the state, including the field office closest to the Roaring Fork Valley, in Silt. The long-time Wyoming Field Manager will begin his new job in Colorado next week. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with him from his office in Casper.

Joe Meyer is the BLM’s new Northwest Colorado District Manager. His home base will be in Grand Junction.

Advocacy Group Looks To Forest Service Solution

Jul 24, 2014
savethethompsondivide.org

Natural Gas drilling in an area near Carbondale known as the Thompson Divide is still a possibility, despite protest from many local residents. The group trying to stop it is hopeful a Forest Service plan, due out later this summer, will prevent future drilling.

southcanyonfire.com

Twenty years ago this month, a fast-moving wildland fire near Glenwood Springs killed 14 firefighters. On Sunday firefighters and family members will remember those who died in the South Canyon Fire during a special commemoration. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with David Boyd with the Bureau of Land Management. He’s helping organize the event.

The South Canyon Fire commemoration starts at 4:45pm at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs on Sunday (6/7). For more information, visit this website.

Pitkin County To BLM: Cancel Thompson Divide Leases

May 14, 2014
Marci Krivonen

Pitkin County is reiterating its opposition to drilling in the Thompson Divide area through a letter to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is taking comments on its review of 65 oil and gas leases that stretch over the White River National Forest. Twenty-five of those leases are in the Thompson Divide, southwest of Carbondale.

Mountain Edition – May 8th, 2014

May 8, 2014

Residents vote for change on the boards that represent Carbondale’s emergency services and a mid-valley park district.

New test results show third graders in the Roaring Fork Valley are better at reading than the statewide average.

A state senator wraps up her time under the gold dome in Denver.

And oil and gas proponents voice strong support for continuing to drill in Garfield County.

We’ll let you know what to expect for the upcoming Aspen Music Festival and School summer season.

And we get a taste of what Aspen middle and high school band students learned this year from a long-time jazz musician. 

BLM Seeks Comments From Public On 65 Oil, Gas Leases

Apr 17, 2014
savethethompsondivide.org

The public is getting a chance this week to comment on what happens to existing oil and gas leases in Garfield, Pitkin and Mesa Counties. Sixty-five leases within the White River National Forest are up for review. Just eight of them hold active infrastructure, like gas wells. The Bureau of Land Management handles the leases and is soliciting feedback on what do with them.

Elise Thatcher

There’s a small army of citizen scientists just over the mountains from Carbondale. Residents in the Paonia area are donning special backpacks for twenty-four hours at a time, to collect real time data for scientific study of air pollution.  The aim is to measure what might be getting into the air from nearby oil and gas wells.

Editor's note: Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story. 

Alison Gannett: “Bluebell!”

Sex and the Greater Sage Grouse

Nov 21, 2013
US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Greater Sage Grouse is in trouble. The bird looks like a large chicken and has an elaborate mating dance… and it's habitat across the West has been under siege for several decades. There’s been big effort to help the bird. Now, Garfield County officials are watching closely as the federal government decides how closely to protect a big chunk of its Colorado habitat. There’s disagreement about how to do that... and huge restrictions on private and public land are at stake if officials get it wrong. The BLM is taking comments on its habitat plan for the Greater Sage Grouse.

Some of the effects of lawmakers’ continuing impasse on the federal budget are easy to see in the Roaring Fork Valley. The government shutdown has affected federal offices that handle outdoor recreation and other agencies. And as Elise Thatcher reports, it's not clear what effect it could have on social services.

Reporter: The government shutdown is visible along Highway 82. Traffic signs flash warnings to drivers, saying the road to the Maroon Bells is closed to cars and busses.. And if you poke around, there are other indications, too.

Red Canyon Fire Exposes Depression-Era Outhouse

Aug 19, 2013
Marci Krivonen

The fire that burned through 400 acres southeast of Glenwood Springs last week is is now fully contained. Many of the firefighters were reassigned over the weekend. The focus now is monitoring hot spots and maintaining a fire line containing the blaze.

As crews fought the flames they found a surprise beyond the big smoke plumes. An archaeological site above Glenwood Springs was literally unveiled by the fire. As crews hacked away at brush they found a depression-era campground built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Building a New Google Earth... for Firefighters

Jun 17, 2013
[Photo: Esther Godson]

For firefighters, each new blaze presents different challenges. Where to get water... the boundaries between private and public property.. access roads and other details can be crucial to getting control of a fire. To make that easier, the Forest Service and other agencies are building their own Google Earth program.

Fewer Firefighters, But Not Here

Jun 5, 2013

The Forest Service isn’t hiring as many firefighters this year, compared to years past. That’s according to the agency’s top official. Tom Tidwell testified before Congress earlier this week. He said there will be five hundred fewer firefighters this year. That’s because of sequestration, or mandatory budget cuts. Bill Kight is with the White River National Forest. Aspen Public Radio asked whether those budget cuts will mean fewer firefighters for the Forest.

“Uh no, not really, we’re in good shape this year. We’re about the same number of folks we had last year.”

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