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.
Former superintendent of Colorado National Monument says new planning process is means to a pre-determined end
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — National park conservation advocates and retired park employees say they’ll carefully watch an upcoming planning process at Colorado National Monument that may have been spurred by pressure from elected officials and special interests.
In a press release, regional NPS director John Wessels said the plan “will bring greater transparency to our decision-making process, and will draw upon the community’s knowledge and connections to the monument to inform our decisions on future activities.”
Bike race controversy sets stage for possible rule changes
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Officials at Colorado’s namesake national monument say that, after two years of controversy over holding a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, they will develop a plan for managing visitor activities along Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument.
The plan will outline a transparent process for National Park Service review of special events such as sporting events, bicycle tours, organized picnics and weddings. The plan will also address requests by private businesses to offer services in the monument.
“Colorado National Monument is a world class scenic wonder, so it is no surprise that it is also a highly sought-after venue for special events,” said John Wessels, NPS Intermountain Regional Director. “The Visitor Activity and Commercial Services Plan will bring greater transparency to our decision-making process, and will draw upon the community’s knowledge and connections to the monument to inform our decisions on future activities.” Continue reading “Park Service eyes new plan for Colorado National Monument”→
Activists press for better conservation measures to sustain river flows
By Summit Voice
Even before he lands in Colorado, President Obama will be reminded of the one of the key long-term environmental issues in the West, as communities, water providers, would-be oil shale developers and others wrangle over the fate of the Colorado River.
To highlight grassroots concern over the Colorado, the advocacy group Protect the Flowsworked with crop artists Stand Herd to carve a giant message into a field that should be visible as Obama flies into Grand Junction. The message covers about one acre; each letter is 30 feet from top to bottom and the entire message is about 360 feet long, equal to the height of a 36 story building.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Utah may get all the press when it comes to natural sandstone arches, but Colorado has an impressive collection of its own. In fact, the sandstone plateaus and canyons southwest of Grand Junction, near Colorado National Monument, have one of the greatest collections of natural stone arches, centered around Rattlesnake and Mee canyons.
Part-time Summit County resident, explorer and snow sculptor extraordinaire Stan Wagon treks to the canyons each spring, avoiding the more trodden ground around Moab to explore some of Colorado’s wildest backcountry. As a Summit Voice contributor, Wagon has frequently shared his adventures with readers here. You can read about last year’s arches excursion, and get more information on the area in this Summit Voice story. More specific information on access and locations are at this page on Wagon’s website.
The area southwest of Grand Junction offers immense opportunity for exploring interesting sandstone features. Taking a break from the endless snow in Summit County, some friends and I spent a week in the area starting April 27, 2011, the main goal being to hike to some remote arches. But we could not leave the snow behind entirely and spent one day skiing the famed east face of Mt. Tukuhnikivatz east of Moab.
Jonathan Kriegel and I needed perseverance and tools (ice ax, crampons, and a whippet) to climb the east ridge. While the descent was in skiable, but not great, snow conditions, it was overall a fanatastic day and very satisfying to reach this summit towering over eight thousand feet above Moab. Read about skiing the La Sals at Wagon’s website.
Back to sandstone, we first returned to West Rim Arch on the west side of Rattlesnake Canyon. We had visited the top of it last year, but this time we entered the canyon quite directly and contoured around to the bottom of the arch, which has a completely different feel than the top. One can climb right inside the arch for an intriguing view.