Committee split on park status, holding open houses

KEN HENRY



Can you visualize having a national park in your backyard? What would that mean to your business, the way you enjoy recreation or the way you live in the Grand Valley?

A local committee appointed by members of Congress is tasked with gathering your thoughts about whether Colorado National Monument should undergo a status change to a national park.

A community survey already has tracked more than 400 responses.

However, in those responses a number of written comments suggested respondents weren’t aware of all of the facts surrounding a potential status change for the monument. To help set the record straight, committee members will host four open houses in April.

“The public needs facts, not just rumor and innuendo,” said Fruita Mayor Ken Henry, a committee member. “We need to reduce emotions, and this is one way to do it.”

According to the survey, opinions were split about evenly whether respondents wanted a change to a national park, and many respondents didn’t care either way, committee member Warren Gore said.

He also said the committee, which has more than a dozen members, is split on the issue.

“It’s definitely not an all pro-park committee,” he said. “It’s fairly balanced.”

A status change would not change the federal government’s involvement, committee members said. The monument already is run by the government under the National Park Service, and a status change to a national park would not mean   any more or less involvement.

Also, costs to change would be negligible, about $10,000, or the costs to change the signs, Henry said.

Other topics include how a change may affect tourism, transportation, businesses, Glade Park access and boundaries of the monument.

To comment by email, send your thoughts to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Open houses are from 4 to 7 p.m. on these dates:

■ April 10 at Redlands Middle School, 2200 Broadway on the Redlands.

■ April 12 at the Fruita Community Center, 324 N. Coulson St. in Fruita.

■ April 18 at Bookcliff Middle School, 540 29 1/4 Road in Grand Junction.

■ April 19 at the Glade Park Community Center, 101 16.5 Road on Glade Park.


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