Monument upgrade dropped


Key dates in debate:
 monument or national park?

The most recent phase in the century-old debate over park status for Colorado National Monument began in 2010, when U.S. Rep. John Salazar and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, both Colorado Democrats, pledged support for a change in status. Then:

■ Feb. 24, 2011: More than 300 people commented in a town hall meeting at Colorado Mesa University that foreshadowed the division in the Grand Valley on the issue.

■ May 19, 2011: A community group was charged with studying the potential effects of park designation. The committee eventually disbanded without a recommendation, citing the lack of consensus on park status.

■ April 3, 2013: The Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce supported park status, as did the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association days later, on April 14.

■ June 9, 2013: A five-member committee was appointed by Tipton and Udall to draft a bill reflecting the wishes of the Grand Valley.

■ March 14, 2014: The Daily Sentinel obtains a copy of the proposed bill, which calls for the designation of Rim Rock Canyons National Park to replace the monument.

■ May 17, 2014: Tipton and Udall hear from proponents and opponents of park status in a town hall session at Grand Junction City Hall.

■ July 7, 2014: Tipton says he won’t carry a bill for park status, citing a lack of consensus on the subject. Udall joins in, but urges continued study.

Gary Harmon

Colorado National Monument will remain as it is for at least one more year, barring a presidential decision to change it.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said Monday there would be no bill this year to upgrade the status of the monument to a national park, as envisioned by a local bill-drafting committee that also proposed dubbing it Rim Rock Canyons National Park. The proposal also called for an advisory committee to work with park management.

Even in agreeing that no park-status legislation would go forward this year, Tipton and Udall showed they were as divided as the Grand Valley community on the issue.

“A change in the status of the monument could at the very least create an increased level of uncertainty over future regulatory impacts to the Mesa County area, and possibly more stringent regulations in and around the monument,” Tipton said in a statement. When it comes to growing economic opportunity and creating jobs, it is done successfully through less regulatory uncertainty, not more.”

Tipton also noted he would oppose any effort to establish a national park to replace the monument.

Congressional protocol would require that he support such a measure in his 3rd Congressional District.

The continuing division over park status “rules out legislation over the short term,” Udall said in a statement. “The community should continue to discuss how a national park designation could help create jobs and protect the Colorado National Monument for future generations.”

Park-status supporters cited the opportunity to capture more tourist business, especially visitors from other countries in seeking park designation. They also pointed to the possibility that the 20,000-acre monument, which was established in 1911 by President William Howard Taft under the 1906 Antiquities Act, could be enlarged by President Barack Obama in similar fashion.

No president, however, could unilaterally change the boundaries of a national park, which would be established by Congress.

“As a national monument any president can expand it at anytime with no community input or input from Congress,” said Terri Chappell, founder of Grand Valley Regional Citizens for a National Park. “That’s a chance Mr. Tipton seems willing to take for all of us, but it does not accurately reflect the community desires he was elected to represent.”

The issue won’t go away, Chappell said.

“A pause in an election year is reasonable, but to our minds quitting is not an option for anyone who sincerely cares about the future of the Grand Valley,” she said.

Tipton and Udall are seeking re-election this year.

Opponents of park status have said the designation could set the stage for federal overreach and Tipton said the National Park Service had provided western Colorado with just such an example.

“Just last month, without any notice or public consultation, the National Park Service announced that it would no longer allow the transport of vital fuels on (Rim Rock Drive) to the residents of Glade Park,” Tipton said. “While the Park Service backpedaled on this overreach for the time being, it was a betrayal of the community’s trust and illustrative of the significant impact that agency decisions can have on the local community.”

Udall noted that he would use his position as head of the Senate subcommittee on national parks to ensure the agency worked well with nearby communities.

Economics weighed heavily on both sides of the division over park status.

“We in the tourism constituency truly believe that a national park would not only protect this fabulous resource, but would also move the needle economically and in a very quick fashion,” said Barbara Bowman, manager of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau.

The VCB will support the consensus of the community, Bowman said, adding the agency would participate in discussion of the proposed legislation.

Park-status opponents said the possibility of economic gains from Rim Rock Canyons National Park would be outweighed by the threat of environmental organizations and federal agencies using the park as a wedge against energy development in western Colorado.

With the prospect of a bill off the table, “Now we have a chance to get economically healthy again and grow,” said Kent Carson of Friends of Colorado National Monument, which was founded to continue its current status.

Debates over monument status have done little to bring residents together, said Diane Schwenke, president and CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, an early supporter of park status.

Membership in the chamber is split roughly one third in favor of park status, one third against and one third with no position or interest, Schwenke said, citing a 2010 survey of members.

“All through this process, I don’t think I’ve seen the needle move,” Schwenke said, “except that it’s become more divisive.”

The committee that drafted the proposed measure had hoped to see the process move forward, said Ginny McBride, one of the five members of the committee.

“We look forward to any future dialogue,” McBride said, “and we remain open to bringing both sides of the discussion together in any way we can.”


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Stupid!  What can it hurt to become a national park?  Too many naysayers that get involved in areas that really don’t matter!  Waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy to conservative !

Secrecy Surrounds Sudden Ditching of Colorado National Monument Upgrade

PART 1. With my keen eye for manipulative hyperbolic detail, I couldn’t help noticing Terri Chappell’s statement to the effect that leaving Colorado National Monument a national monument instead of making it a national park “is not an option for anyone who sincerely cares about the future of the Grand Valley.” The self-evident and intellectually fraudulent implication of that statement is the outright propaganda lie that anyone who doesn’t want to turn CNM into a national park doesn’t “care” about the future of the Grand Valley. Bovine feces.
It may come as a huge and emotionally traumatic shock to Chappell and her politically cutesy ilk but there do actually exist other opinions than their own. To all the cutesy political manipulators, I say, “grow up!”
I was born in the Grand Valley in 1944 at the old St. Mary’s hospital at 11th Street and Colorado Avenue, so, yes, I care about “da fyoocha” of the Grand Valley at least as much as Chappell. When I was a kid, the population of Mesa County was in the neighborhood of 38,000 people. In 2014, it is around 147,000. That’s not all that far from a four-fold (387%) increase. The question is not whether or not everybody else “cares” as much as Chappell, the question is, “how big a population increase is enough?” I am in the “147,000 is enough” camp.
It is true from a “macro” point of view that the Earth has a finite amount of space which will only accommodate X number of people, given the state of technology at any particular point in time. So obviously, there do exist mathematical numbers representing quantities of people which the Earth would be incapable of sustaining. That fact alone logically legitimizes my “how many is enough?” question. But even that is not the main issue.
The main issue – (and one which Chappell et ilk will NEVER openly discuss) – is the immense night-and-day difference in pragmatic effects/consequences between the manipulate-government-power top-down “economic development” school of economic thought and produce-something-useful-to-humans bottom-up “economic development” school of thought. It’s an over-simplification, but that conflict is analogous to the Keynesian school of economic thought versus the Austrian school of economic thought. In the former, deception, manipulation and political rhetoric “skills” and creativeness at avoiding physical labor are at a premium and are rewarded. In the latter, honest labor, “invent-and-make-stuff” skills and a strong work ethic are at a premium and rewarded.
The former is self-evidently Unsustainable, while the latter is empirically sustainable, whether you are digging an irrigation ditch to water your peach trees or whether you are building a vehicle to travel through space at faster-than-light speeds.

PART 2. There are those among us who “skills” lie purely in the area of deception and manipulation against their fellow humans. Their main expertise is the grotesquely immoral fraud of “legal tender” and the manipulation of monetary numbers. That type of person lacks the skills necessary to make real things useful to humans which will find acceptance in a free marketplace of willing buyers and willing sellers. That type of person thinks it’s “wealth building” and/or “economic development”  if your house was “worth” $200,000 of monetary numbers five years ago and worth $300,000 of monetary numbers today. Conversely, that same type of person thinks it’s an “anti-economic-development” disaster if your house was “worth $300,000 of monetary numbers five years ago and worth $200,000 of monetary numbers today. We’re talking about the SAME house, folks. It is what it is, it took whatever labor and skill it took to build it,  and it does for your life what it does. “Wealth” is REAL things useful to humans, not monetary numbers. “Wealth building” is making REAL things useful to humans, not using the power of Good Old Boy government to manipulate monetary numbers to your benefit and your neighbor’s detriment.
The type of person I’m talking about is most commonly found in the financial, legal and government (aka “Big Banking”, “Big Law”, “Big Government”) sectors. They love call themselves “public servants” and refer to what they do as “public service”. But in reality, they no more “serve” the “public” than a bull elk “serves” a cow during mating season. Yet some 70% of duopoly GOP/DEM lemmings trust (and vote for) the herd’s dominant pecking-order manipulators anyway. It’s really quite an amazing phenomenon when you project it through the prism of your common sense.
The only logical explanation I can come up with for this suicidally destructive anti-self-ownership behavioral phenomenon is that too many so-called “Little Labor” (“Big Labor” = unions) individuals are just too ignorant and intellectually uncurious (aka lazy) to see through all the wannabe-clever deception/manipulation and figure out exactly how the Good Old Boy gang is stealing their labor/money.
From a political point of view, the anti-self-ownership deception and manipulation often start with such seemingly unimportant and harmless little things as Terri Chappell’s intellectually dishonest pretense that, merely by desiring to turn the Colorado National Monument into a national park, ipse dixit, she “cares” more about “the future of the Grand Valley” than people who disagree with her do.
So desperate are America’s cultural, political and economic problems that I am no longer willing to sit idly by and allow such embarrassing levels of ipse-dixitism (what I like to call “polemical misconduct”) go unridiculed. Sorry, Terri!

For a response to Anne Landman’s “Secrecy Surrounds Sudden Ditching of Colorado National Monument Upgrade” blog article, see my own blog article “Colorado National Monument v. “Colorado Canyons National Park”: Glade Park Access Fight, Round 2?” at Hopefully that might answer some of Anne’s “conspiracy of silence” questions.

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