Park partisans

National park designation for Colorado National Monument received a significant and welcome boost this week as the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Grand Junction Economic Partnership agreed to support the designation.

When those two important local organizations join forces on behalf of a local cause, they bring a lot of individual and business influence to bear. We’re glad to see they have joined the redesignation effort, especially the Chamber of Commerce, which has a century-old tradition of supporting national park status for the red-rock canyons southwest of Grand Junction.

The two groups’ support is not unconditional, however, and that’s understandable. Park designation shouldn’t slam the brakes on activities in this community.

In a resolution adopted by both organizations this week, they made clear they would only support national park legislation that does not change the air quality standard now in place for the monument; does not expand the current boundaries; does not impede access to Glade Park and will not adversely affect future business development in the valley.

Additionally, they ask that the legislation include creation of a community oversight commission that can review and reverse special-use permit decisions made for the park by the National Park Service. That would be an unusual provision in park legislation, but it’s important. Locals now have little chance of overturning decisions on such permits made by park or monument superintendents, no matter how irresponsible.

All of this is a tall order to include in legislation establishing a new national park, but Colorado National Monument is unique in its proximity to a metroplitan area. We hope Sen. Mark Udall, who has been interested in possible legislation to designate the monument a national park, will heed the concerns of these local groups and their many members and draft legislation that squares with their suggestions.


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