Just Say NO! to Another National Park: Here’s Why

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May 20, 2013

Homes, farming operations, and indeed everything within the “view shed” of this magical mesa may be changed forever.


The Colorado National Monument, established in 1907, abuts the Southwestern corner of the Grand Valley, my home in Western Colorado. The Monument is 32 square miles of sandstone carved into sheer cliffs and dramatic canyons by epochs of erosion and seismic activity. It’s pink, white, and gray sandstone strata are delicious to behold and offer unique opportunities for motor tourists, bikers, and hikers. It’s by ways consist of one main 22 mile road that loops the entire monument, and numerous foot trails and climbing areas. Independence Rock is its most recognizable feature, jutting hundreds of feet from the canyon floor, a stubborn remnant of the erosion that claimed the stone that once connected it to the surrounding mesa.

The Colorado National Monument is a beautiful place to visit, a local treasure, and the backyard of hundreds of residential homes and small farming operations. Those homes, farming operations, and indeed everything within the “view shed” of this magical mesa may be changed forever.

A United States Senator from Colorado, Democrat Mark Udall, is pressuring his compatriot, United States Congressman, Republican Scott Tipton, from Colorado’s third District, to join him in introducing a bill that would change the Colorado National Monument to a National Park. Udall purports that since the National Park Service now oversees its upkeep and other concerns that there would be no increased interference from the Federal Government should it become a National Park. Scott McInnis, former United States Congressman and gubernatorial candidate, also from Colorado’s third District, relates a very different perspective on the potential impact of having a National Park that is literally in the backyards of established farms and neighborhoods. McInnis is a veteran of the process required to designate and name a national park.  He was instrumental in the creation of Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

In a conversation with Representative McInnis, he expressed the following concerns related to changing the designation from a national monument to a national park so near developed neighborhoods, farms, and a medium-sized city.

This region of Colorado is tourism-rich. Dinosaur Diamond, the Colorado River, mountains, deserts, canyons, and quick access to literally hundreds of busy recreational areas, saturate the calendars of even hard-core local enthusiasts. One of the arguments FOR making our treasured Monument into a National Park is the increased revenue from tourism. Unlike most other national parks, however, the Colorado National Monument is the backyard of suburban and semi-rural neighborhoods. Increased interference from a federal government which has already proven itself to be hostile to private property owners, and pretty much everyone else, will almost certainly lead to unintended and negative consequences to residents of Mesa County. I would encourage everyone who reads this to call Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Scott Tipton and ask them to please just say NO! to another national park.

Mark Udall

Coloradans, call toll-free:
877-7-MUDALL (877-768-3255)

D.C. office

Hart Office Building Suite SH-730

Washington, D.C. 20510

P: 202-224-5941

Scott Tipton

Grand Junction office

225 North 5th St., Suite 702
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Phone: (970) 241-2499

D.C. office

218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4761

by Marjorie Haun  5/20/13

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