FRUITA, Colo. - Less than a year after beginning a process to turn one of Colorado's scenic landscapes from a national monument into a national park, lawmakers are asking for community input on their official proposal.
Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Scott Tipton announced their bipartisan proposal on Tuesday to redesignate the Colorado National Monument, near Grand Junction, as a national park. The proposal is based on community recommendations collected by a committee formed in June 2013 to help ensure that local citizens were involved in the process.
"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.
The inspiration to turn Mesa County's scenic monument into a national park came from John Otto, the first park ranger to oversee and care for the location.
"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," said Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee. "I strongly urge local residents, businesses and stakeholders to study this proposal and provide us feedback."
Tipton said that he believed any change in the area's designation should be driven by community support and that having a consensus from local citizens was necessary before any legal changes would be made.
"To be clear, I have not drafted a bill in the House of Representatives to change the designation of the Colorado National Monument," Tipton said. "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."