Group marshals support for park status at monument
The Colorado National Monument Association would like nothing more than to become the Colorado Canyons National Park Association.
The volunteer association that supports the National Park Service is supporting changing the national monument into a national park, citing the potential for the 20,000 acres of sandstone spires, sheer-walled canyons and red-rock vistas to draw in tourists from afar at no additional cost.
“There would be no boundary change, all current uses would be continued, funding would remain the same, and visitors would still enjoy the extraordinary scenery and wildlife from historic Rim Rock Drive,” association Executive Director Lace Stevens wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “In other words, life here at ‘The Monument’ would basically remain unchanged.”
Next year, the monument will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its designation by President William Taft.
“It would all come together nicely” if the 100th anniversary of the monument were to be marked by the culmination of explorer John Otto’s dream to have the area recognized as a national park, Stevens said.
The association is taking on the lead role of coordinating support for the change, Stevens said.
U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., have said they are interested in carrying legislation promoting the national monument to a national park.
“I know we already have received several letters in support” of the change, Stevens said.
Anyone interested in writing in support of the change can do so using the association’s website, http://www.coloradonma.org.
The website has information for letter writers to use in support of the proposal, as well as links to the websites of Salazar, Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., where e-mails can be directed.
Addresses for the letters to be delivered by U.S. mail also are on the website.
The association has no deadline for letters of support, but the sooner, the better, Stevens said.