Monument bans fuel
Trucks hauling propane or other fuels to Glade Park no longer will be allowed to deliver to their customers via Monument Road as of Aug. 1, the National Park Service told residents.
Monument Road is being ruled out as a route for Glade Park deliveries because of safety concerns that were aired in listening sessions with Glade Park and other residents, Colorado National Monument Superintendent Lisa Eckert said.
“The safety topic has been a recurring theme at public meetings,” including the listening sessions, Eckert said, noting that she hadn’t heard any complaints from Glade Park residents.
The notice comes as two federal lawmakers are considering legislation to redesignate Colorado National Monument as a national park and it undermines promises that nothing about the monument would change, Glade Park resident Lynn Grose said.
Grose sat on a committee that in 2011 and 2012 studied the pros and cons of park status.
“We were promised over and over that there would be no change,” Grose said. “Now they’re making changes without even a national-park designation.”
Most of the residences and ranches on Glade Park, which overlooks Colorado National Monument, use propane for heating. The ranches also use a great deal of diesel and gasoline, all of which must be delivered from the Grand Valley below, said Warren Gore, a Glade Park rancher who served on a committee that drafted proposed legislation for park status.
“This doesn’t help the monument’s working relationship with people of Glade Park,” Gore said in an email. “When they are trying to win people over, they come up with stuff like this ... This plays right into that argument of being poor neighbors. I don’t recall there has ever been a fuel spill in the monument.”
The drafting committee included several provisions intended to address several local concerns, among them protecting free access by Glade Park residents to the community via what is known as the East Hill, or Monument Road.
The Park Service prohibition of fuel or hazardous materials transportation on the East Hill “is necessary for the maintenance of public health, protection of environmental or scenic values or protection of natural resources,” according to the notice, which is dated May 1, and calls for the ban to go into effect on July 1. Eckert extended the date to Aug. 1.
Rancher Jay Van Loan said he hadn’t heard of the ban until he received an email from a neighbor.
“There have been a lot of wrecks involving bicycles and automobiles” on the East Hill, Van Loan said. “I wonder if they should be banned, too.”
The notice advises transporters, in an underlined sentence, to use Little Park Road “for any and all future transportation needs to Glade Park.”
So, wondered Grose, what happens on the days when Little Park Road is snowed out and Glade Park residents need propane deliveries or a ranch needs fuel?
Another horseshoe still could drop if the Park Service decides that horses, cattle, hay or gravel can’t be transported on Monument Road, Grose said. A gravel truck spilled its entire load just yesterday within 100 yards of the monument’s east entrance.
Further, “Little Park Road borders the monument and if (the monument) encompasses Bangs Canyon, which I fully anticipate, then what happens?” Grose said.
One supplier to Glade Park told her that the Little Park Road route would make no difference in the cost of delivery because it’s only two miles longer than the East Hill route, Eckert said.
Glade Park residents in 1986 won a federal court ruling upholding the right to use the East Hill route through the monument without charge and the proposed legislation would codify that right.
The court, however, also took pains to address cargo, weight and size restrictions on the road, Eckert noted.
The ban on hazardous materials on the East Hill is intended to fend off a disaster before it happens, Eckert said.
“I would love to be ahead of the curve,” Eckert said, “and be proactive instead of reactive.”