The Biden administration took action to finalize protections for the Thompson Divide area in central Colorado and established the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland signed Public Land Order 7939, withdrawing approximately 221,898 acres of USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land from mining-related development for a 20-year period, subject to valid existing rights.

The withdrawn land lies mostly west of Hwy 133 and the Crystal River from Carbondale through Redstone to McClure’s Pass. It covers the former Coal Basin area mined by Mid-Continent Resources, which has been reclaimed. It also covers acreage near the West Elk mine in Somerset and Paonia and land along State Road 12 from Somerset to Crested Butte. It does not affect the town of Marble or the Marble mine, nor does it impact current West Elk operations. It will impact known gas reserves contained in the region’s coal seams.