Cycling on minds of many at meetings on monument use

A report detailing how Colorado National Monument can better meet visitors’ wants and needs will be released online as soon as early this fall.

Boulder-based mediation group CDR Associates will compile the report based on comments received Tuesday at a meeting in Fruita and Wednesday at a meeting in Grand Junction and post results at CDR personnel facilitated the two meetings on behalf of the monument with the goal of gathering community input to learn what activities and amenities people would like to see in the monument.

About 100 people attended Fruita’s meeting and about 30 came to Wednesday’s meeting at Colorado Mesa University. Suggestions at the latter meeting included forming a recreation advisory committee for the monument, creating a campground and visitor’s center for the east entrance to the monument, and encouraging more meetings between the monument and tourism-related agencies, such as the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Cycling in the monument was on the minds of many attendees. Efforts to stage a portion of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Colorado National Monument have failed in recent years due to National Park Service rules about commercial races. But recreational rides like the Tour of the Moon have been allowed.

Patric Rostel, head coach of Colorado Mesa’s cycling team, came to the meeting to find out more about how he can obtain a permit to have a collegiate race on the monument. In particular, he would like Grand Junction to host the national collegiate cycling championship in 2017. Past coaches haven’t had much luck, he said, but he hopes he’ll have a better chance.

“I’m an environmental science major so I understand the environmental impacts (of a race) but those can be mitigated,” Rostel said. “I get the vibe from the National Park people they want to work better with people.”

Cyclist John Hodge said Wednesday he would likely attend a commercial race like the Pro Challenge but he would prefer to keep larger events out of the scenery he loves. Hodge and fellow cyclist Jean McFall said they would prefer the monument stay a monument and not gain the extended visitor base of a national park. McFall said she would like to see the monument renamed Colorado Canyons National Monument to help those who do visit understand it’s more than a plaque or statue.

“I like it staying a local gem,” McFall said. “We’re just like the Colorado ski areas that are (lesser-known) gems, like Monarch and Powderhorn.”

Seth Anderson, a climber and owner of Loki Outerwear, said it would be to his advantage to keep the monument as is but he’s willing to see the change to park status for the possibility of a boon to tourism. He favors the name Colorado Towers National Park.


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