Agency approach to bike race perplexing

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COMMENTS

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While I do not find the “Agency approach to bike race perplexing”, I agree with former Representative Scott McGinnis that the National Park Service should grant a waiver for “our community’s request to use a stretch of Rim Rock Drive in Colorado’s National Monument as part of a leg of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge” – for two reasons:

First, “our community’s efforts” constitute a bipartisan endeavor to promote economic benefits for the Grand Valley.  Our Country sorely needs more such bipartisanship, and Western Colorado needs whatever economic boosts that can reasonably be generated.  Therefore, all federal agencies should be sympathetic to opportunities like this – when they advance both legitimate objectives.

Second, I find none of the statutory and regulatory objections raised by our responsible stewards of the Colorado National Monument to be inherently insurmountable. 

Rather, if it is true that “representatives of this agency seem to believe that there is no way to manage the minimal impacts of this event”, then either those impacts are not as “minimal” as McGinnis suggests, or event planners have not convincingly minimized them – whether the “stretch” is only four miles or 23 miles (as in “American Flyer”).

Given the topography of and sensitive fauna and flora along either route, anyone who has seen a bike race must surely realize that both safely accommodating hundreds of waiting spectators and protecting the natural values of John Otto’s legacy are daunting tasks – but not necessarily impossible within adequately supervised limits.

If the Tour of the Valley and Ride the Rockies can “ride the Monument” for charity, then a commercial bike race (and other credible enterprises) can be allowed to do likewise – in exchange for a substantial charitable contribution to a Monument Trust, an adequate bond for unintended damages, and an ironclad “hold harmless” agreement to protect taxpayers. 

              Bill Hugenberg

Mr. McInnis is entitled to his opinions regarding the National Park Service, and he seldom passes up an opportunity to voice them.  He is not, however, entitled to his own facts.  And so, I offer a point of correction:  The National Park Service was not sued because it sought to charge Glade Park residents a fee for access to their homes.  Quite to the contrary, the NPS was issuing free windshield stickers to Glade Park residents so that they could be readily identified by fee collectors and allowed to pass through the monument without charge.  The plaintiff in the case didn’t object to the free access or claim that the NPS was attempting to charge him for access to his property.  Rather, he objected to the method the NPS employed to verify the status of those who claimed to be Glade Park residents, landowners, and business owners—that is, an agency requirement to fill out and sign an affidavit.  I hasten to add that the county commissioners and representatives of the Glade Park community initially approved of that method, and in fact the county even furnished the NPS copies of its tax rolls to aid in the verification process.  Only later did Mesa County join the law suit against the NPS, primarily over matters relating to the use of the Rim Rock Drive by oversize commercial vehicles.



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