Let’s Pony Up for the Hoback


hoback river

Hoback River | Scott Bosse
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It’s pretty rare that we ever get the opportunity to save a slice of heaven for $150 an acre. But on one of my favorite rivers – the Hoback in Wyoming – you can do just that.

The Hoback isn’t as well known as some of the West’s most storied rivers. It doesn’t lure anglers from around the world like the Yellowstone does. It doesn’t flow through the Grand Canyon like the Colorado does. And Ansel Adams didn’t sear it into the American consciousness like he did with his famous photo of the Snake River flowing past the Tetons.

But to me, the Hoback represents everything that’s magic about free-flowing rivers. Its water is so clean and cold and sweet you just want to plunge your head in and drink it. Its native cutthroat trout are quick to rise to a fly, and when you hold one in your hands, its iridescent beauty takes your breath away. And the wildlife – it’s everywhere you look. Deer, elk, moose, osprey, bald eagles, and if you’re lucky – river otters.

So when American Rivers learned that a Houston-based energy company wanted to drill and frack for natural gas in its pristine headwaters, we knew we had to do everything we could to save it. Last month, after years of advocacy, our coalition finally won the battle. Plains Exploration & Production Company agreed to sell its 58,000 acres of gas leases for the tidy sum of $8.75 million.

That sounds like a heap of money. Until you realize that if every person who responded to our action alerts over the past two years pitched in to buy an acre of gas leases for $150, we’d have this river saved.

Here’s the catch – we only have until December 31 to raise the money, otherwise the lease buyout deal could fall through and the Hoback could end up back on the chopping block. The finish line is in sight. Will you help us cross it?