About a half hour into a briefing with activists and reporters Tuesday morning to explain the process of studying a proposed natural gas test well high up in the Thompson Divide west of Carbondale, White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams got a little antsy.

It wasn’t that he was nervous about some of the questions he was fielding. It had to do with the fact that he’d just realized he was standing on top of an ant hill.

“The irony of stepping into an ant’s nest here has not escaped me,” Fitzwilliams quipped, as he brushed ants from his pant legs and sleeves.

“These things are normally pretty low key,” he said of the typically routine site visits to get an initial look at an area where any lease-based activity is proposed in the national forest, from oil and gas drilling to logging to outfitting.

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