Udall Invites Coloradans to a Discussion about National Park Designation for Colorado National MonumentMark Udall's Senate Member Office (D-CO) posted a Press Release on February 11, 2011 | 6:05 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)
Today, Mark Udall invited Coloradans on the Western Slope and across the state to a community discussion about the possibility of designating Colorado National Monument as a national park. The public listening session will be held in Grand Junction on Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. At the meeting, in the Maverick Student Center Ballroom at Mesa State College, Udall hopes to hear thoughts and concerns about whether the change is necessary and how it could affect the community. In September 2010, Udall visited with Monument employees and officials as part of his Colorado Workforce Tour to talk about ways to create jobs and stimulate the local economy.
'This change would not be quick or easy, and would require many months of hard work with local stakeholders, the public and the National Park Service to ensure a balanced and smart policy that works for the Monument as well as surrounding communities,' Udall wrote. The Feb. 23 meeting 'will be an opportunity for you and others in your community, as well as various stakeholders from the Western Slope, to discuss the effects of any changes.'
As chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks, Udall has been speaking over the past year with community leaders and national parks officials about this proposal in order to weigh the costs against benefits. Supporters say national park designation would increase national recognition of the Monument's beauty and boost tourism and economic development in the surrounding communities.
When: Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Where: Maverick Student Center Ballroom
Mesa State College
Following is the text of the invitation:
Dear Fellow Coloradan:
I want to invite you to a public listening session I will host on February 23, 2011, in Grand Junction regarding efforts to designate the Colorado National Monument a national park.
One hundred years ago, a beautiful series of red-rock canyons and towering rock spires became the Colorado National Monument, protecting it for generations. The Monument's landscape is both unique and undeniably Western, and it is a truly iconic backdrop for Mesa County that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
The Monument's supporters, beginning with its founding father John Otto, have long campaigned for national park status, believing the landscape's beauty and uniqueness are on par with many of our iconic national parks. Some argue an upgrade to national park status would give the Monument stronger national recognition, potentially luring more visitors to the Western Slope and boosting the economy.
When I visited the park in September 2010, I was reminded of the Monument's magnificence and began talking with various stakeholders about changing the Monument's status to a national park. This change would not be quick or easy, and would require many months of hard work with local stakeholders, the public and the National Park Service to ensure a balanced and smart policy that works for the Monument as well as surrounding communities.
In order to better understand the public's thoughts and concerns on changing the Colorado National Monument to a national park, I am holding an open meeting at 5:30 p.m. on February 23, 2011, at the Maverick Student Center Ballroom at Mesa State College in Grand Junction. We chose this time so that people would be able to attend after regular work hours. This will be an opportunity for you and others in your community, as well as various stakeholders from the Western Slope, to discuss the effects of any changes.
I believe that whenever changes to our public lands are being considered, it is essential to hear others' perspectives to ensure a balanced policy. I look forward to hearing your thoughts at the meeting.