Park status measure for monument still in its drafting stage

Public meetings will be needed to discuss potential national park status for Colorado National Monument, said U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., on Friday.

A committee of Grand Valley residents was charged with drafting a measure that Congress would use to designate the monument a national park and present it to Tipton and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.

Both congressional staffs need to discuss what to do with the locally drafted measure, Tipton said after speaking at the Mesa County Republican Party luncheon, during which the subject of park status did not come up.

Public discussion of a bill is “absolutely essential” for the measure to go beyond the drafting stage, Tipton said.

The idea of promoting the monument to a national park has been the subject of multiple public meetings, beginning with Udall’s town hall meeting in 2009, in which he said he would carry a measure that met the approval of Grand Valley residents.

Since then, several smaller meetings have been conducted in Grand Junction, Fruita and Glade Park, many of them conducted by a study group appointed by Tipton and Udall to consider park status.

The committee offered no recommendation, saying that it found Grand Valley residents split on the idea, about 40 percent in favor, 40 percent opposed and 20 percent with no position.

The drafting committee was charged with drafting a measure that would use the existing boundaries of the monument for the national park, preserve the access rights of Glade Park residents and water facilities owned by Fruita, as well as include provisions aimed at preserving the potential of economic development in the Grand Valley.


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