This letter in opposition to the Parkdale Quarry expansion was submitted to the BLM by our chapter on March 20, 2020.
Bureau of Land Management
Royal Gorge Field Office
3028 E. Main St.
Cañon City, CO 81212
RE: Parkdale Quarry Expansion Comments
To whom it may concern:
I am writing on behalf of the Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited (CPCTU) to express our opposition to any expansion of the existing Parkdale Quarry onto BLM-administered lands. Our chapter represents more than 350 members and supporters, mostly from the upper Arkansas River Valley. Given that Trout Unlimited’s mission is to conserve, protect, and restore coldwater fisheries and their watersheds, we are acutely concerned that this proposed quarry expansion will adversely affect the riparian areas and wildlife corridors along Currant and Tallahassee Creeks.
The proposed quarry expansion in both the Proposed Action (Alternative A) and the Alternative Sale Area (Alternative C) would expand onto the eastern portion of BLM’s 31,918-acre Echo Canyon Lands with Wilderness Characteristics (LWC), which the BLM documented in a 2015 report.
As a testament to its wilderness character, these areas have been proposed as Wilderness numerous times since 2003 as part of the Table Mountain proposed Wilderness, identified for its unique and extraordinary biological values. It was proposed for Wilderness as recently as the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2018, and this portion of the Table Mountain proposed Wilderness was only excluded from the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2019 in order to minimize conflicts with the quarry expansion proposal.
The BLM must consider how the expansion of this quarry could impact the nearby McIntyre Hills and Grape Creek Wilderness Study Areas and proposed Wilderness Areas. Factors impairing the wilderness and wildlife value of this one area could significantly affect the others. For example, bighorn sheep range on both sides of the Arkansas River throughout Bighorn Sheep Canyon – the river does not present a substantial barrier to their range for much of the year.
We are strongly opposed to any expansion of the Parkdale Quarry onto public lands, especially Lands with Wilderness Characteristics. At the very least, the BLM should defer consideration of the project until completion of the ongoing Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan. With the RMP process nearing completion, we believe that now is not the proper time to make this decision. The existing quarry has sufficient materials to continue to operate for an additional 15 to 30 years.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Sincerely,
Collegiate Peaks Chapter Trout Unlimited