Gwen Lachelt was born in New Mexico and raised in Alaska and Colorado. She moved to Durango in 1981 and has continued to call Durango home for the past 30 years.
Gwen graduated from Fort Lewis College in 1985. In 1987, began a long non-profit career working as a community organizer in Durango for Western Colorado Congress (WCC), later serving as its executive director. In her time with WCC, she worked on numerous community issues including highway safety, affordable housing, renters' rights, oil and gas, and public lands. Gwen was the first executive director of the San Juan Citizens Alliance and was a visiting Sociology instructor at Fort Lewis College. In 2005 the Ford Foundation selected Gwen as a national finalist for the prestigious Leadership for a Changing World award.
Gwen began her work on oil and gas issues in 1988 when Amoco, now BP, announced plans to drill a thousand gas wells in La Plata County. This work to prevent and minimize the impacts caused by oil and gas development spans the globe, and has resulted in numerous policy reforms and new laws at the federal, state and local level throughout the United States and Canada. She has dedicated her career to protecting landowner rights, and minimizing the impact of energy development on air and water quality. Gwen is the founder and past director of Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project.
As a lifelong cycling enthusiast, Gwen considers herself fortunate to have many beautiful trails and roads right out her door. She has completed several bike tours including Ride the Rockies, a tour from Durango to Zion National Park and back, and several American Lung Association tours. She counts in her accomplishments the completion of two Iron Horse Bicycle Classics. She also enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and lake kayaking.
Gwen has two boys who enjoy all the activities that Durango and La Plata County have to offer. Her partner, Dr. Anita Holtz, and two step-daughters, live in Albuquerque.