Final mineral withdrawal will protect Colorado’s Thompson Divide, Mt. Emmons

Apr 4, 2024

The Biden administration has finalized a mineral withdrawal protecting more than 200,000 acres of national public land in Colorado’s Thompson Divide. The 20-year mineral withdrawal will prevent new mining or oil and gas activity in the area, but will not impact existing active leases within the withdrawal boundaries. The withdrawal is supported by a coalition of ranchers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and environmentalists that has been advocating for limiting extractive activities in the Thompson Divide area for over a decade. Over 73,500 public comments were submitted in support of a mineral withdrawal in the Thompson Divide. Public lands surrounding Mount Emmons, the site of a decades-long effort to protect the area from mining, are also included in the withdrawal.

“Today’s mineral withdrawal concludes a process that began when President Biden protected Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, and it wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of Senator Michael Bennet, Senator John Hickenlooper, and hundreds of elected and community leaders across the state,” Center for Western Priorities Executive Director Jennifer Rokala said in a statement. “This is a proud day for Colorado.”

New poll highlights importance of access to nature, outdoor recreation

new poll from the Colorado Polling Institute shows just how important the state’s natural amenities and outdoor recreation are to growing the state’s economy. When residents who have lived in the state for less than 20 years were asked why they moved to Colorado, after family and job opportunities, access to nature and outdoor recreation were the next most commonly mentioned reasons.

Quick hits

Thompson Divide mineral withdrawal finalized

Colorado Sun | Denver Post | Colorado Newsline | E&E News | Interior Department [press release]

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Quote of the day

Thank you, President Biden, for listening to Colorado voters and protecting the Thompson Divide. Some places are too important and too fragile to drill.”

—Jennifer Rokala, Executive Director, Center for Western Priorities

Picture This


A flower blooming in the desert proves to the world that adversity, no matter how great, can be overcome.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

Wildflowers at Carlsbad Caverns do compete with many challenges in the Chihuahuan Desert. Changing temperatures and extreme weather can make even the toughest plant work to survive. These trials have led to some uniquely adapted plants. That also usually means they are very pokey.

In this series we will look at some of our prettiest but most prickly cacti. Starting with the Scarlet Hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus coccineus) more commonly referred to as Claret Cup. As the name implies, blooms have a deep red hue that pollinators love. Claret cups robust compact body can allow it to grow in many locations, even in higher elevations of the park. They typically bloom at the park in late spring on rocky outcroppings.

Image Description: Blooms on a barrel shape cactus open to the sky.

Photo: NPS/T. Gleason

Feature image: Thompson Divide, Jon Mullen/The Wilderness Society