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.