North Fork Face-off

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Photo by Gretel Daugherty

Rancher Nick Hughes raises 230 head of cattle on his 340-acre spread northwest of Delta. He uses irrigation water from both the Heartland ditch and the Gunnison River for his cattle and his fields. Hughes also owns a ranch north of Paonia — 2,500 acres in the middle of the Bull Mountain unit, including the mountain itself — where he grazes his cattle during the summer. He says he believes in having “a conversation” with the oil and gas interests. “That’s what we have to do as ranchers every day,” Hughes says. “We have to negotiate.”

Battleground shift heads up valley, exposes agricultural rift

Opponents who successfully, if perhaps only temporarily, fended off federal leasing of some 30,000 acres for oil and gas development in the lower North Fork Valley now have a battle of a different sort on their hands in the valley’s headwaters.
There, some 100,000 acres of federal leases already have been issued, according to the local group Citizens for a Healthy Community, and private minerals also have been leased in the area. With the rights that go along with those leases, the battle isn’t so much over whether oil and gas development will occur, but how.

Dairy Queen plans larger, improved building at North Avenue spot

Sometime after the summer Blizzard season, the landmark Dairy Queen at Seventh Street and North Avenue could disappear, only to be replaced by a bigger, brighter, more traffic-friendly “fan food” restaurant, city planners said last week. When and if the project goes forward depends on negotiations between the franchise owner and the property owner, a builder on the project said. 

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