Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Local Executive Committee to Develop Legislation to Redesignate Colorado National Monument as a National Park

Following years of public input and meetings, Senator Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, and Congressman Scott Tipton, who serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources, have announced the formation of a local executive committee to help them craft discussion-draft legislation to re-designate the Colorado National Monument as a national park. The five-member executive committee will work with Udall and Tipton to produce discussion-draft legislation that addresses local residents' concerns and find a way to move forward on the park's plan. Following completion of the executive committee’s work, Udall and Tipton will hold a public comment period for the community to provide feedback on the discussion draft.

"The Colorado National Monument is one of our state's most recognizable and stunning public lands. I am proud that Congressman Tipton and I have joined together to form this local executive committee to keep the conversation going on the Colorado National Monument's future," Udall said. "I look forward to working with these community leaders to draft legislation that addresses local concerns while also finding a bipartisan, common-sense way forward to honor John Otto's original vision for the Colorado National Monument."

One of the chief concerns among locals is the ability to run a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge through the national monument along Rim Rock Drive. However, National Park Service officials have refused that permit on grounds that the event conflicts with federal regulations and agency management policies.

The executive committee, which will meet periodically over the next several months to help draft legislation, is made up of:

◾Kristi Pollard, former director of development at Colorado Mesa University
◾Warren Gore, a Glade Park rancher and chairman of Udall and Tipton's recent Colorado National Monument working group
◾Ginny McBride, chairwoman of the Colorado National Monument Association Board of Directors; ◾Michael Burke, chairman of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce
◾Jamie Lummis, a member of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizing committee.

The formation of the executive committee follows more than a year's worth of work by the Colorado National Monument working group, which explored the implications, benefits and possible issues of redesignating the monument as a park.


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