February 23 printed letters

Anzelmo followed rules
in rejecting bike race

I read Denny Herzog’s Feb. 20 column in The Daily Sentinel regarding the Quiznos Pro Challenge bike race. I can sure appreciate his interest in promoting Colorado National Monument. However he has, if you will pardon the pun, chosen the wrong vehicle.

The National Park Service policies, adopted in 2006 after national public involvement and 45,000 public comments, clearly state that a special event may be permitted “when there is a meaningful association between the park area and the event” and “when the event will contribute to visitor understanding of the park area.” The Quiznos pro bike race fails both of these criteria.

Moreover, Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which governs what occurs in all areas of the National Park System, requires that the Park Service deny permits for events that are “conducted primarily for the material or financial benefit of a for-profit entity; or awards participants an appearance fee or prizes of more than nominal value …”

When I read the Quiznos Pro Challenge tag line on its website — “60 miles an hour on one inch of rubber” — it was apparent what the pro race is looking for: maximum speed and thrill. That’s understandable for a commercial event Quiznos is trying to host throughout Colorado. But it is not appropriate to take place in a national monument or a national park.

Superintendent Joan Anzelmo is simply implementing regulations and policy in denying the permit for a stage of the race to take place in Colorado National Monument. She has graciously offered the monument for a ceremonial lap by the racers, without the attendant helicopters, small airplanes, and race-support vehicles that are part of the pro race.

I hope the race organizers accept her offer. In his column, Herzog claims that he wants to avoid controversy. This would be a good step in that direction.

RICK SMITH

Chair, Executive Council

Coalition of NPS Retirees

Tucson, Ariz.

Park Service seeks to close lands to many users

You can’t have it both ways. Our illustrious national monument superintendent is an environmentalist. She is only interested in protecting the park from “us.”

She is one of a whole bunch who have been hired, including rangers and other park personnel in every so-called public national park. They treat the park system like it’s their own private land to play on, and everyone else is excluded unless they are backpackers or hikers.

National park and monument land, contrary to these people’s beliefs, are public lands, and therefore are, by rights, for the public’s use and enjoyment. It is their job to find ways to manage these lands and safeguard them, but not turn them into non-use areas for the preservation of every critter, plant and tree that inhabit them. That is for wilderness areas. So far they have managed to turn much of Colorado into wilderness. And still they are not happy.

Utah’s BLM is trying to close thousands of acres of public lands that 75 percent of Utah’s residents have indicated they don’t want.

However, I have to agree with her decision not to have the bicycle race on the monument because it will be a madhouse of TV crews, cranky bicyclists, cars, trucks, road closures, etc. Who needs it except the small population who ride bicycles?

Yes, I know the argument is that it will bring in thousands of tourist dollars. But do you really want all these environmental bike riders from Boulder? They will all want to move over here and then we will be known as the “Republic of Grand Junction.”

The politicians need to get busy and get us out of the financial mess we’re in instead of wasting precious time advocating bike races. Welcome to a Democratic state! Shades of Rome burning while Gov. Hickenlooper plays his violin.

JOAN MACKENZIE

Grand Junction

Unlike President Obama, Hickenlooper is a leader

I applaud our new governor because he has proposed to cut the big-money items, education and Medicaid, in his budget. This is the exact opposite of our president, who refuses to address these items in his proposed budget because doing so is not politically correct.

The president would be well-advised to take a lesson from several of the newly elected governors on how to lead, which is to take some positive action rather than giving the same old speech on national TV every other day.

JIM BROWN

Grand Junction



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