Free advertising is benefit of upgrade, 
backers of park status say

The difference between “monument” and “park” amounts to several million dollars worth of free promotion for the Grand Valley in nationally distributed magazines and maps, supporters of a name change for Colorado National Monument said last week.

A 20-page promotion of the nation’s most popular parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park, appeared in the March edition of Sunset magazine.

The section featured dozens of dramatic, glossy photographs of the most famous vistas, but no national monuments.

Those in favor of changing the name of Colorado National Monument to Colorado National Park say the Sunset coverage shows how parks grab all the headlines, while monuments are largely ignored.

“The opportunity to re-designate (the national monument) as a national park (can be done) for nothing more than the cost over time of changing the signs,” said Terri Chappell, a spokeswoman for Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park, in an email to The Daily Sentinel.

Support Brand USA, for example, is a new marketing directive launched by the Western Governors’ Association to promote public lands and increase foreign tourism. By redesignating the monument as a park, the Grand Valley would be more likely to benefit from the governor association’s marketing effort, the citizen group argued.

Rand McNalley road maps highlight national parks with added editorial content and photographs. Monuments are not similarly promoted in the maps, they said.

Around 26 international tours arrive at Grand Junction Regional Airport each year, but the groups board buses and head to national parks in Utah without ever stopping to see the monument, said Barb Bowman, manager of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau.

International tours might stay a night in Grand Junction to visit the monument if it was designated a national park, Bowman said.

“Even if a national park won’t solve all of the county’s economic problems, it is absolutely part of the solution, and we could put it in motion today at no cost to local taxpayers,” Chappell said.


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What guarantee do the proponents of elevating the status of our Monument to National Park have that this advertising would happen and how often? Once in ten years? monthly? The Feds own or manage enough of our land. Feds have done a bang up job in the national forests haven’t they? The victims of last years forest blazes and subsequent flood in the Thompson canyon may be able to tell them about how well they think the Fed has done in that job. Further it would allow limited access as we have seen in the BLM lands and has the prospect of infringing on water rights and adjacent property rights. There is always a price to pay for so called free stuff and it is usually more costly than it is worth. Sandy Price

A friend and I drove across the Monument yesterday.  It was a very busy day up there with lots of cars, hikers, bikers and bicyclists everywhere!  As I drove the narrow winding road on the edge of the cliffs, I cringed at the thought of tour buses making their way along that narrow road.  I tried to imagine them getting around the bicyclists, and trying to find parking in the small pullouts available (which were all full).  For all of you so intent on bringing this probable disaster to reality?  I suggest you take a drive up there try to visualize this yourselves.  This should not be about generating revenue, but about safety, AND the costs to taxpayers to make this possible (and safe). Because it will, in the end cost the taxpayer.  Our Monument is a beautiful, unique area but I don’t think it qualifies status as a National Park… to compare it with Rocky Mountain National Park or Utah’s National Parks is really a bit of a stretch.

The park boosters use the term advertising when they mean free listing. In advertising, you control the message and, to some extent, its timing and delivery. Placing a message you don’t control in the same context as all your competitors, especially when you are among the smallest in a crowd of 60, is not an advertising strategy. It’s a Hail Mary.

Perhaps the supporters hope the new park will garner some favorable coverage, and it might at first. But with earned media (i.e., coverage you don’t pay for), you have to keep coming up with a fresh story. That’s not the case here in Happy Valley, where the Sentinel seems willing to provide “free advertising” for the same story over and over.

The Rand McNally argument has been forwarded before. Increasingly, travelers refer to the web and mobile devices, not paper maps. I checked the Rand McNally site and found that national parks/monuments are displayed according to size, not prominence or prestige.

For example, labels for Dinosaur National Monument, Curecanti National Rec Area and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument all appear on the Colorado portion of the map before any of the national parks. The name of CNM, because of its small area, appears only at the higher magnifications, something that park status would not change.

P.S. How will Grand Junction get free promotion in a Sunset Magazine story about the nation’s most popular parks. Seems to me that will take more investment than hanging out a new sign.

Will raising the status of this public structure also empower special interests to use it to control the Grand Valley? In the Clean Air Act, the viewshed of something such as a Nat’l Park or Wilderness area, is it’s right, not ours. It can control or be used to control all in IT’S view.

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