“We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.”
Rising 3,000 feet above the Colorado River Valley, the Roan Plateau is a visually stunning, undeveloped island of public land surrounded by intense gas drilling activity. It is one of the three most biologically diverse places in Western Colorado, featuring genetically pure native trout and numerous rare plants, including the rare Parachute penstemon. The BLM has identified four critical areas on the Roan as eligible for protection as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, totaling over 36,000 acres. East Fork Falls, one of the tallest and most spectacular waterfalls in Colorado at 200 feet, lies hidden in a dramatic canyon nicknamed “Colorado’s Little Yosemite.”
The Roan Plateau provides critical habitat for one of the largest mule deer herds in Colorado. Most of this herd’s habitat has already been leased for energy development, making the few remaining areas of critical range – like that at the Roan Plateau – all the more valuable to our state’s wildlife. Hunting on the Roan Plateau brings 1,500 hunters and results in almost $5 million for the local economy annually.
Recently, we and our partners won a huge victory on the Roan Plateau near Rifle when the Bureau of Land Management issued a new management plan that protects 90% of the top of the Plateua from drilling for 20 years. WW is part of a coalition of conservation groups that has long sought to prevent oil and gas drilling on top of the Roan Plateau.