Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act
On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law permanent protections for the Hermosa Creek watershed, putting the final touches on a six-year, community-led process to protect 170 square miles of land just north of Durango. That same day, the local community celebrated our successful multi-year effort with Representative Scott Tipton and Senator Michael Bennet in style. We raised our glasses to this exceptional feat of bipartisanship, community coordination and, consensus, as well as the years of patience, negotiation, and hard work that brought these protections to fruition.
To everyone who made phone calls, wrote letters, signed petitions, spoke up in meetings, attended events, and promised to keep doing the good (and sometimes trying) work necessary to protect Hermosa – THANK YOU! We couldn’t have done it without you. Our efforts to protect the Hermosa Creek watershed may even serve as a model of how to successfully preserve and protect our most cherished natural places for years to come. Everyone involved deserves a big hug, some fresh powder, and a long nap.
In the end, the bill protected 108,000 acres of land surrounding Hermosa Creek, including nearly 38,000 acres of new wilderness. Additionally, the bill closed Lake Nighthorse, Horse Gulch, Animas Mountain, and Perins Peak – key recreational and wildlife areas surrounding Durango – to any future drilling or mining. These areas will now provide crucial protected habitat for local species of elk, deer, and cutthroat trout, as well as places for us to fish, hunt, hike, backpack, snowmobile, and mountain bike together for years to come.
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