(This letter was originally addressed to U.S. Bureau of Land Management Acting Director Mike Pool.)
My name is Andrea Marsh and I am a teacher at the Mt. Sopris Montessori School located in my hometown of Carbondale. Not only do I teach in the classroom but I take the preschoolers on field trips every week to various places around Carbondale, which include parts of the Thompson Divide.
The Mt. Sopris Montessori school was founded in 1981 and over the past 30 years there has been a field trip program that allows the children to venture out into the amazing beauty that surrounds us. What happens in our classrooms is reinforced by the opportunity to go out into the woods and identify parts of the animal and plant kingdom as well as play. A favorite place for one of our infamous field trips is up in Marion Gulch, located in the parcel of land considered to be the Thompson Divide. We park our bus and hike up the trail along the creek until our legs are tired and a snack is needed to re-energize before the children are allowed to balance on fallen Aspen trees, find empty wooden snail shells, discover tracks in the mud from wildlife and play in the great outdoors.
If you allow the gas companies to drill in this area I will not feel comfortable nor safe exposing the children to the side-effects of fracking. Drilling for gas not only affects the air, the earth and the water, but the way we live and how the children learn and grow in this amazing valley.
I ask you to please consider the future — of not only this incredible valley that I call home — and consider the children that I am able to take on amazing adventures in the treasure box of fun places to explore all around this town of Carbondale and how they will be affected by your decisions in renewing or allowing the leases to drill gas in the Thompson Divide. Stop the clock. Give the message to the gas companies that we are not interested nor will we tolerate fracking in our precious high country.