Stakeholders move cautiously toward redesignating Colorado National Monument as a national park

Proposal released for local review and comment

Co Nat 1
Colorado National Monument. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — After a year of local input and discussions, Colorado lawmakers this week took the next step toward redesignating Colorado National Monument as Rim Rock Canyons National Park.

U.S. Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat, and Republican Congressman Scott Tipton unveiled a bipartisan proposal driven by community recommendations. According to joint press release from Udall and Tipton, the proposal reflects local residents and stakeholders’ concerns and interests about a possible redesignation.

“From Colorado’s earliest days, when John Otto first proposed making the Colorado National Monument a Park, through today, Mesa County has discussed making these iconic red rock canyons a national park,” Udall said. “I have been proud to lead this community-driven process with Congressman Tipton, and this proposal reflects the ideas and concerns of local leaders, businesses and residents.

“I strongly urge local residents, businesses and stakeholders to study this proposal and provide us feedback. This step will hopefully provide us with a bipartisan, common-sense way forward to honor John Otto’s original vision for the Colorado National Monument,” Udall said.

“The Colorado National Monument is one of Colorado’s most scenic natural wonders and plays an important role in the lives of all who are blessed to live in the Mesa County region,” said Tipton. “When it comes to our public lands, the Monument included, I believe that any possible change in designation or management should be done through a bottom-up process, driven by community support and broad consensus,” he said.

“To be clear, I have not drafted a bill in the House of Representatives to change the designation of the Colorado National Monument. Any potential legislation to change that status of the Monument first must be community-driven and locally supported. I look forward to the community’s comments and ideas on the committee’s recommendations, and will take them into careful consideration as we determine what’s next.”

“The committee members were honored to represent the citizens of Mesa County for this very important task,” said Ginny McBride on behalf of the Drafting Committee. “This proposal is the product of much discussion and compromise. We look forward to hearing the feedback of the broader community.”

Residents, businesses and other stakeholders can review the proposal by clicking here. Interested parties also can provide feedback by clicking here.

The release of this proposal follows nearly a year of work by the drafting committee and more than a year’s worth of work by the Colorado National Monument working group, which explored the implications, benefits and possible issues of redesignating the monument as a park.


3 thoughts on “Stakeholders move cautiously toward redesignating Colorado National Monument as a national park

  1. Is this designation really necessary for an area that is already protected and patrolled by so many jurisdictions that it sometimes looks like a Veteran’s Day Parade on the main drive? Where are the cost analyses as to who will bear the direct and indirect costs of this designation?
    Sadly, this is just another propaganda vehicle for Mark Udall that he thinks will attract a certain sector of the political spectrum to vote for him. If the people of Grand Junction knew the real costs of this move and how much of it they will bear, they would revolt. A National Park is enormously more expensive to maintain than a National Monument due to the infrastructure and personnel that are mandated by such a change.
    Who was the fool who decided that the word Colorado should be dropped from this area? Colorado National Monument is an iconic State brand, one which we are proud of and where some small segment of the name should be preserved REGARDLESS of the designation gerrymandering that is being attempted. The generic “Rim Rock” designation is an insult to the citizens of this state.

    1. I agree with you about the name, but I do think it would be worth waiting to see what the stakeholders do with this. I don’t think this is just a case of top-down designation.

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