Know Your Rights:

  • Do you regret signing the recall petition?

  • Do you believe you were misled into signing the recall petition?

You can remove your name from the petition with one email.

By May 31, send an email to La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Parker and Dave Peters of the recall committee and let them know you are removing your name from the recall petition. 

Misleading Statements:

  • By law, petition circulators are required to inform signers of the content of the petition statement. Many circulators asked people if they wanted to “sign the land use code petition.”
  • Petition circulators also told signers that Commissioner Gwen Lachelt doesn’t live in La Plata County, that Gwen has driven oil and gas out of La Plata County, and that she is going to take away your private property rights. These statements are false and have misled people into signing the petition.

Don’t let special interest groups overturn our local elections through a BOGUS recall. The voters have spoken. A special election is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

#DeclineToSignLaPlata and Read more

I am pleased to be serving my second term as a La Plata County Commissioner. I was re-elected November 2016, and my term will end in January 2021.

I welcome the opportunity to make progress on these critical issues:

  • Restore the Animas River and clean up leaking mines.
  • Improve our air quality by cutting methane emissions.
  • Establish a new land use code and improved transportation infrastructure to attract high quality employers and create new jobs.
  • Complete the long-range comprehensive plan – with an eye toward diversifying our economy and addressing declining. revenues from oil and gas; protecting future water supplies, ranch land, and open space; and creating healthy communities with strong local businesses.
  • Ensure that our transportation, housing and schools infrastructure will keep and attract high quality employers and create new jobs that pay a living wage.
  • Strengthen our community by growing local and regional food.
  • Keep our public lands in public hands and protect our outdoor recreation economy.


Accomplishments for La Plata County

Comprehensive Planning for La Plata County’s Future: I actively pushed the County to re-engage with creating a comprehensive plan. The Planning Commission is now doing so, with active citizen support.

La Plata County’s Precious Water: I supported the creation of the La Plata County Water Advisory Commission to aide the county both in planning for, and protecting, our waters.

Air Quality Standards: I led the county in developing strong state air quality standards and the nation’s first rule controlling methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

Diversifying La Plata County’s Employment: I advocate daily for diversifying our economy so we are not so dependent on any single industry.

Advocating for County Fiscal Responsibility: I supported convening a Fiscal Sustainability Steering Committee to help the commissioners plan for the county’s financial future.

My commission record and long-term planning

Read about my commission record and long-term planning, and  Forum Question and Answers


Upcoming Events

Green Business Roundtable 2018-2019 Season

The Green Business Roundtable (GBR) is one of the most innovative and successful lunchtime networking events in Durango. Routinely attended by over 80 business leaders, elected officials, and influential community members, GBR inspires innovative discussions on timely issues affecting our region. GBR is non-partisan. See upcoming topics and join us on the second Wednesday of each month through April. More

The Club – La Plata County Dems on the Move!

The goal of The Club is to bring together all Democrats, from the most conservative to the most progressive, to celebrate our shared values, appreciate who we are and to work together to put more Democrats in office. Visit us on Facebook.  Luncheon every 2nd Tuesday every month at the Durango DoubleTree Hotel. Visit the La Plata County Democrats website. More

Meet Gwen at the County Administration Building

Gwen typically holds open office hours for the public the third Monday of the month from 12:00 to 2:00 pm at the County Administration Building, 1101 East 2nd Avenue, Durango. Double check La Plata County’s website for monthly office hours and other public meetings. More

See More Upcoming Events

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    Let's end unfettered gas flaring


    Gwen Lachelt voiced support for the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed natural gas waste rule during a congressional hearing April 27, 2016. Durango Herald Article.

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    Hold mining companies responsible for cleanups


    Denver Post Editorial by Gwen Lachelt
    The American people are about to inherit another costly Superfund site, courtesy of inadequate and outdated federal mining regulations. Earlier this month, the EPA recommended that the Gold King Mine in southwest Colorado, which dumped a torrent of mine waste into the Animas River last year, should be added to the list of the nation’s most toxic clean-up sites. Photo (Brennan Linsley, Associated Press file).

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    I can take the long view, by Durango Herald


    Lachelt’s years of work, which ranges from co-founding Bear Smart Durango to helping pass legislation to protect New Mexico’s Valle Vidal from mineral extraction, has attracted the attention of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Time and The Washington Post, among others. In 2005, because of OGAP’s work, the Ford Foundation named her a national finalist for the Leadership for a Changing World award.

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    Responsive to citizens' needs


    I have been responsive to public concerns, both large and small – whether it’s been citizens wanting to ensure funding for the Sunnyside and Fort Lewis libraries, or a dangerous road intersection needing some additional signage, or too much commercial traffic to and from mines, or too many bears in too many trashcans, I have acted. There are no easy answers. I’m hoping that together we can determine how we can effectively deal with these issues without breaking the bank or increasing the budget – how we can make improvements without adding additional staff.

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    Long Range Planning is Critical


    Our county population is projected to explode from our current 54,000 residents to an estimated 85,000 by 2035. To preserve our county’s beauty and health, to keep this home to both wild life and ranchers, to attract high quality employers, we need to plan carefully.

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    When a River Runs Orange


    Durango, Colo. - The recent mining pollution spill in my corner of Colorado - La Plata County - is making national news for all the wrong reasons. Beyond the spill and its impact in everyone downstream, the underlying causes are far more worrisome and dangerous than just a mistake made by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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    Methane Emissions and Acid Mine Drainage


    Though currently toxic, our local environmental problems could actually stimulate local jobs and growth. From methane emissions that need an "Apollo-like effort to bring local, state and federal governments together with businesses and organizations to reduce emissions; to acid mine drainage leaving more than 300 million gallons each year into the Animas River -- these are our opportunities to clean up and employment.



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    Governor John Hickenlooper Governor of Colorado

    Gwen is always firm in her convictions, and while we have not always agreed, she is in public service for all the right reasons.


    Julie Westendorff La Plata County Commissioner

    Gwen brings fresh perspectives, intelligence and thoughtfulness, and creative problem-solving to address La Plata County issues.

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    Peter Schertz Maria’s Bookshop Co-Owner

    Gwen knows how to work with diverse groups to get things done.