Tipton, Udall oppose national park status for Colorado Monument on Western Slope

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado National Monument in Mesa County is not going to be designated a national park.

Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, said Monday that more dialogue is needed before the Monument should become the state's fifth national park.

The announcements come more than a year after Tipton and Udall started taking public comment about the designation.

Many of the comments raised questions about how the status would affect neighbors.

Tipton concluded that the likelihood for national park legislation passing the House and Senate without impacting the local community is "minuscule."

He released the following statement in a news release:

"While the Colorado National Monument is here for all of us to enjoy and explore, it is most intimate to the people of Mesa County and is integral to this community. From the beginning, I approached this process from the standpoint that should the community, with consensus from all sectors, want to change the Colorado National Monument to a national park, then I would, as their representative, listen to their input with the condition that it be done in a way that would have no adverse impact to existing industries or economic development."

"This process has made it clear that not only is there no community consensus on the issue, but that there are many concerns regarding potential adverse impacts the change could impose on the local economy with regard to increased regulation and federal government scrutiny."

Colorado's four national parks are are Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Mesa Verde National Park.

Timeline:

  • May 19, 2011: At the request of local industry and economic development groups including CLUB 20, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, West Slope COGA, and others Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall announce the formation of a community group to consider turning the Colorado National Monument into a national park.  The group was comprised of 16 community leaders, and ended up making no recommendation on whether or not to change the status of the Monument citing a lack of consensus in the community on the issue.
  • June 8, 2013: At the continued urging of local industry and economic development groups to continue the conversation on the Colorado National Monument and potential park status, Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall announce a citizen working group comprised of five members tasked with drafting recommendations to be incorporated should legislation be crafted to change the Monument to a national park.
  • April 1, 2014: Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall announce a 90 day public comment period on the recommendations made by the citizen working group regarding park status.
  • May 17, 2014: Congressman Tipton and Senator Udall hold a community listening session in Grand Junction on the working group proposal.
  • June 30, 2014: Completion of the 90 day public comment period.
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