Press Release Dec 19, 2016

Plan for Energy Development in Southwest Colorado Moves Forward

Collaborative Planning Will Help Mesa Verde National Park

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced that it will move forward with a Master Leasing Plan (MLP) for public lands in Southwestern Colorado.

Master Leasing Plans are a collaborative tool used by BLM to provide custom energy leasing plans in areas close to national parks and other lands of high ecological and recreational value. They are intended to balance responsible energy development with conservation of natural landscapes critical to outdoor recreation and cultural heritage:

Below is a statement by Jerry Otero, Southwest Energy Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA):

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward for the communities and public lands of southwestern Colorado. Local businesses and individuals deserve to have input into how they want their economies to develop, and on how to best find a balance between the many uses of public lands in the region.

“This leasing process will allow stakeholders to create a path forward to protect Mesa Verde National Park, many significant tribal and cultural sites, and important areas for the outdoor recreation industry. We looks forward to participating in this plan and working with the BLM to protect critical park values such as scenic vistas and night skies as well as nearby cultural resources like Yucca House National Monument and Canyon of the Ancients National Monument.”

Background: The BLM is currently evaluating 17 MLPs in the West on lands adjacent to several national parks including Dinosaur National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Capitol Reef National Park. Last week, the Moab MLP was finalized which reflected the will of local stakeholders and businesses to create strong protections for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

The planning area for the Tres Rios Master Leasing Plan includes Mesa Verde National Park, Yucca House National Monument, many significant tribal and cultural resources, important outdoor recreation areas, and other sensitive lands. In 2015, more than half a million people visited Mesa Verde National Park, generating almost $55 million in economic output for the local economy and supported more than 800 jobs.

Earlier this year, NPCA released a report detailing the success MLPs have had balancing protections for national parks and other sensitive lands with responsible energy development.

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.