Advocates get signatures to change monument to park
Elevating Colorado National Monument to a national park could reverse the economic slide of the Grand Valley, the chairman of the Junior College Baseball World Series said.
“With what I consider the slow death of western Colorado, it’s time to shake things up,” said Jamie Hamilton, who also chairs Home Loan State Bank. “We have to do something to shake up this economy. It’s something to drive additional tourism. It just makes sense.”
Backers of the upgrade of Colorado National Monument to a national park need to pipe up, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton said.
He and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., are waiting to hear back from a committee drafted to write a bill promoting Colorado National Monument to a national park.
“Grand Junction, Fruita, Mesa County, we’ve got to see public support for it,” Tipton said Friday.
Tipton’s and Udall’s staffs have had several talks about the monument, but they have yet to see the bill drafted by the committee.
“We’ve heard they are making progress and we’re hoping to see the fruits of their work,” Udall spokesman Mike Saccone said.
An online petition, meanwhile, has topped 500 signatures in favor of a national park and signatures are being collected at several locations in downtown Grand Junction, and elsewhere.
Signatures of the online petition range from as far away as Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in a recent addition to signers representing several states, from California to Illinois.
Udall made a promotion of the monument one of his first priorities in 2010, when he called for national park status for the monument in his first visit to Grand Junction as a newly elected senator.
As chairman of the Senate subcommittee on national parks, Udall is in a position to press a bill forward.
Udall and Tipton last year appointed a five-member committee to draft a measure that would give the 20,000-acre monument national park status and they had hoped to have legislation prepared by January.