Our Robust EconomyOur economy and the livelihood of so many Coloradans are tied to the Thompson Divide. Existing uses in the Thompson Divide form a sustainable base for our local economies and provide a platform for future growth that isn’t susceptible to the typical boom and bust of oil and gas development.
Ranching, tourism, and outdoor recreation provide valuable direct and indirect economic benefits to our local economy. According to a 2013 BBC Research study, hunting, fishing, grazing and recreation activities in the Thompson Divide support nearly 300 jobs and $30 million a year in economic value.
In addition to hunting, ranching, and recreation, the large expanse of undeveloped lands in the Divide offers a valuable scenic and pristine backdrop to a regional tourism industry that underlies the economy of the neighboring counties. In 2010, overnight visitors to Delta, Garfield and Pitkin counties spent $720 million in the area, supporting 6,140 jobs, $250 million in earnings and generated over $40 million in state and local tax revenue. These estimates represent 4-6 percent of the state total. Many tourists visit the state to enjoy the natural environment and to participate in outdoor recreation activities that depend on healthy lands.
Leaving this small chunk undeveloped, unique and treasured national forest undeveloped will help ensure long-term economic prosperity and healthy communities in western Colorado. Protection will help us achieve an elusive balance that we’ve been trying to find for generations… a balance between the boom and the bust.