In 2009, I visited Paonia. I wanted to stay forever.
People who live in Paonia walk or ride bikes. Everywhere are organic farms and orchards, shops and co-ops that sell organic produce and fruit, meat, wine, beauty products, yarn, honey… from local sustainable farms. No matter which direction you turn, all you can see is beautiful. Paonia is a model for the rest of US.
Paonia is about to get fracked!
The Fight Over Fracking in Colorado’s North Fork Valley
BloombergBusinessWeek July 12, 2012
by Peter Heller
The creek above Paonia is slowing to a trickle in July’s heat, the watershed as dry as those that recently burned for two weeks outside Colorado Springs. But in late May it was running fast and milky with snowmelt. Fallen trees propped on rocks threshed the current. A light wind carried the smell of cold stone and spruce, and upstream in the V of the little canyon I could see Mount Beckwith and the green aspen on its shoulders. On the gravel bars, white moths flitted in and out of sunlight. I’d already crossed the fresh tracks of elk, deer, and bear. I waded up the middle, casting to either side, and when I caught two heavy rainbows I zipped them into my vest and headed back to the truck. I hummed as I walked, happy to be back after a month away.
Twenty-two years ago, I built a small off-the-grid adobe house beneath the mountain. Like a lot of others who came to the North Fork Valley, I never really left. When I hunt, I walk out the front door and onto the mountain in the dark. My wife and I bike and ski all over the surrounding ridges, within minutes of town. We live mostly in Denver, but go back to the house as often as we can.
With the trout in a cooler, I drove along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. The road passed a mile of orchards along the river and little signs: Holy Terror Farm, Stone Cottage Cellars, Black Bridge Winery. As the road descends and the valley opens up, Paonia looks like a train set bedded in farms, orchards, and ranches, beneath the rugged peaks of the West Elk Wilderness. In recent years magazines and travel programs have taken to calling this valley, with its three small towns, the Golden Triangle, for its quality of life and exploding food and wine scene.
Read the rest of this heartbreakingly beautiful piece HERE.
Before 1990, Paonia was nationally famous for Paonia Purple marijuana. Today Paonia is known for having the largest concentration of sustainable agriculture in the Rocky Mountains.
The BLM lands mentioned in the article have again come up for nomination for a February 2013 lease sale. The nominated parcels are just over 20,000 acres and were granted a 30 day protest period (ending December 17). Efforts are currently being made to bring these issues to the attention of the White House by gathering 25,000 signatures by December 20, 2012.
HOW TO HELP: Please add your signature to this petition.
Get more information at Citizens for a Healthy Community and The Conservation Center.
These have become our choices:
More dirty energy or food just this week we learned about The end of Pasta from fracking in the Bakken Shale. “What will we eat when wheat won’t grow?”
More dirty energy or water. The drought is intensifying in Texas. It takes water to grow food.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego places Lake Mead at a 50% chance to run dry by 2020.
Despite this situation, Republicans want also to promote oil shale production.
They say that there are well over 200 years of oil locked up in the Colorado River Basin.
Oil shale must be heated to temperatures between 400C° and 500C°. According to Shell, to produce 36 million barrels per year (100,000 barrels per day), 5 million tons of coal and at least 4.6 billion gallons of water are needed each year.
As U.S. is using 6.8 billion barrels per year (18.8 million barrels per day)…
Tara Miller says
Thank you for posting this. Our organic farms, vineyards and orchards are not the appropriate place for gas drilling and fracking. I hope everyone reading this will sign the White House petition and ask their friends to do the same. We need LOTS more signatures to really get the President’s attention.
No place on earth is appropriate for fracking. We have all the energy we need with wind and the sun. We just need to push the political will.
Done from this fracked and frazzled Barnett Shale “insurgent”, victim, victor, activist, etc.
More on the north fork – from one farmer.
An update…all the nominated parcels in the North Fork Valley were deferred from today’s scheduled lease sale by the BLM. Additionally, the Court ruled in favor of us – mandating the BLM reveal the nominating entity.