Already it seems like a long time ago that we launched Park Rangers for Our Lands. In that last week of April, when we launched I talked to half a dozen reporters from a variety of organizations including National Geographic, AP, Reuters, Energy Wire. The following week we followed with another series of interviews in Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado. Grand Junction was especially gratifying. We got on to all three major network news programs.
But even more gratifying has been the results. The attention we have brought to the issue of oil and gas leases on lands bordering Dinosaur National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park appears to have encouraged Colorado/BLM to take another look at their planning for oil and gas leases on sensitive lands near the parks. They have made noises that they are elevating the status of their master leasing plans from an appendix to listing throughout their revised resource management plan. That sounds like a pretty benign change, and not all that exciting, but it is real progress.
More gratifying perhaps is hearing that we have truly gotten the attention of Colorado/BLM and BLM in Washington. We’re starting to see more interest in landscape level planning around parks, usually described as a master leasing plan (MLP). We are even beginning to see interest and support from Congressmen. Senator Heinrich from New Mexico in particular is one lawmaker with concerns about BLM leasing practices around Chaco Canyon.
So, to answer the question, are we there yet, the answer of course is ‘not yet.’ But we’re saddled up and we’ve moved out. Let’s keep them doggies rollin’.