Business landscape

Matt Taylor

Mercury Payment Systems has been a partner in the Durango community since 2001, and has grown steadily from its founding to be one of the nation’s top five non-bank purchase acquirers. We currently employ nearly 700 people.

Our company chooses to be in Durango for good reason: This region is blessed with amazing scenery, clean air and water, world-class recreation and a strong rural tradition.

The quality of life here is hard to beat, which is why many longtimers stay, and many more seek to call Durango their home.

Look around from anywhere in town, and you see beautiful landscapes. Missionary Ridge, Animas Mountain and the incredible Hermosa Creek drainage to the north all combine to surround Durango with incredible natural scenery.

Local people treasure these places, as evidenced by how many people hike, bike, hunt and fish in them every day. But these areas are important for more than just recreation – they are critical contributors to Durango’s economy – this region attracts high-tech innovation technology businesses by maintaining a healthy quality of life.

These landscapes are a big part of why people choose to live here, and a big part of why Mercury has chosen Durango as its home base.

This is also why we strongly support Sen. Michael Bennet’s and Rep. Scott Tipton’s legislation to protect the Hermosa Creek watershed, along with Animas Mountain, Perins Peak, Horse Gulch and Ridges Basin.

This legislation is based on the consensus reached after nearly three years of discussion by the Hermosa Creek Workgroup. This group consisted of local interests from across the spectrum – hunters, mountain bikers, water developers, businesses outfitters, motorized recreation groups, hikers and many others.

The group sent a proposal for Hermosa Creek management to Bennet, who crafted legislation based on the group’s findings, and introduced it in Congress. He is now joined by Tipton in a bipartisan effort we should thank them both for.

The legislation would designate the entire Hermosa drainage as a Watershed Protection Area, with the western half designated as the Hermosa Creek Wilderness. New road building would be prohibited on the east side of the canyon, though dirt biking, ATV use, and mountain biking would continue.

The Hermosa Creek Trail, Colorado Trail and Corral Draw trail would all be unaffected, with today’s mountain biking use continuing.

Also based on input from local residents, and with support from La Plata County and the city of Durango, federal oil and gas development would be prohibited on Animas Mountain, Perins Peak, Horse Gulch and Ridges Basin under the legislation. This will protect Durango’s spectacular views, as well as those areas’ water and recreational resources.

With La Plata and San Juan counties already making major contributions to the region’s energy and mineral resources, this represents the kind of balanced use of public lands we need.

The Hermosa Creek legislation is based on true community consensus. It is supported by La Plata and San Juan counties, as well as more than 100 local businesses, including Mercury.

We hope that Congress will enact the Hermosa Creek legislation as quickly as possible, and help preserve the reasons we call Durango home.

Matt Taylor is CEO of Mercury Payment Systems. Reach him at (970)335-4121.

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