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Organizations Want Veto Power Over National Park Service At Colorado National Monument


There's a story in western Colorado involving Colorado National Monument that bears watching. The gist of the story is that some local community organizations are in support of redesignating the monument as a national park, but only if they can veto Park Service decisions on what uses the monument is appropriate for.

Onlookers believe that this ties in to past efforts to have a professional bike race -- the 2013 USA Pro Challenge -- course through the national monument along the 23-mile-long Rim Rock Drive. In the past, officials all the way up to the director of the National Park Service have said that would be an inappropriate use of the national monument.

Now, earlier this spring the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association passed a resolution in support of renaming the monument a national park. That resolution was similar to one adopted earlier by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as one passed by the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. The kicker is that the groups want the legislation to give community stakeholders veto power over any Park Service decisions on uses the agency finds are inappropriate for the monument...such as a professional bike race.

Whether legislation will be introduced into Congress this summer by either U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton or U.S. Sen. Mark Udall to redesignate the monument as a national park remains to be seen.

Park advocacy groups, though, are keeping an eye on this issue and are stressing that the Park Service's hands should not be tied when it comes to what is appropriate for Colorado National Monument.

At the National Parks Conservation Association, officials have said it is good for the Park Service to meet with local stakeholders to discuss the future of Colorado National Monument. But David Nimkin, senior director for NPCA's Southwest regional office, has made it clear that NPCA strongly opposes a professional bike race through the monument.

Simply put, he says, the commercialization of the national monument is out of bounds.

Also watching the issue is the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, which also opposes a professional bike race in the monument. While that group believes it is doubtful that Sen. Udall would offer legislation that would provide local stakeholders veto power over the Park Service, the Coalition nevertheless has notified him of its position on the matter. If the senator or any other congressional representative offers legislation to rename the monument as a national park for the significant natural resources and history of Colorado National Monument, the coalition will offer its official position on the matter at that time.


If this doesn't show how fed up the public is with the NPS arrogance and lack of regard for public input, I don't know what does. Good for them for putting restrictions on the NPS. I suppose they are reading what has been happening in the Smokies and elsewhere. It really is time for an oversight mechanism for Jarvis NPS. Every other federal agency has to answer to the public. This is the only one of which I know where an unelected bureaucrat can arbitrarily make decisions about public lands and fear little recourse from the public. There were agreements in place here in the Smokies that were disregarded over time so I hope that these folks get specific legal language in place, not that it really matters with the NPS. They will march on regardless, but it might assist a group when it comes time to sue them, because that is about all you can do with this agency to get their attention.

Meanwhile in other news, the Center for Disease Control announced today that is monitoring a new and potentially dangerous virus that seems to be sweeping America.

It's called Epidemic Entitlement Syndrome. The infection usually presents in a series of loud statements proclaiming that the infected person is entitled to do anything they wish to do, when they wish to do it, and wherever they wish to do it. That is often followed by convulsive repetition of condemnation for anyone who may try to point out other opinions and a total inability to consider other points of view. Some scientists are investigating reports that the virus appears to become exacerbated when fees or taxes of any kind are mentioned in the presence of one who has been infected.

Did anyone read the part about the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Associations involvement in this? This smacks of yet another effort by mega fossil fuel industries and others to encroach as much as possible on public lands. This would set a terrible precedent. Just say NO.

Yes Lee, and I hear EES is particularly prevelant among current and former government employees and the 47% that pay no taxes.

Interesting post, and a complicated issue. You can understand the local community interests being concerned about changes that may affect how they perceive and use the park, on the other hand, National Parks (or monuments in this case), are just that and guidelines are established to manage them at the National level. I think the Barbara Moritsch book, "The Soul of Yosemite", lays out the issues very well, agree or not, about the competing interests vying for access to these National treasures.

The chamber of commerce and the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association are just trying to use what cards they have to get something they want. Can't blame them for that. In this case, however, I don't support their efforts and I think they have it backwards. I don't think anyone (including the federal government) should be forced to use their land in a certain way and wouldn't want a legislated local "veto" power to force some ill advised use. On the other hand, while it has the legal power to do so, I don't believe the Feds should ignore local input nor should it have outright bans on certain activities without considering whether such activities actually have a detrimental effect. Its propensity to do so in the past is probably a factor the the Chamber and Association pursuing the path they are.

Real shocking that a govt employee wouldn't want to have to answer to the public. How incredibly unpredictable. I am entitled to an opinion and your comments are bordering on violation of terms of service, Lee Dalton. This is the National Parks Traveler, not the National Parks employee service center.

ec, interesting comment. I think you are right when you state that the Federal government "should not ignore local input nor should it impose outright bans on certain activities without considering weather such activities actually have a detrimental effect". I do think that this happens in most cases, in fact it is required by NEPA. This is an important congressional piece of legislation that protects the citizens right to have input into Federal planning decisions. Needless to say, most decisions will not please everyone, but at least the decision should be based on the best information available, and the publics right to comment, and I think that does happen in most, but not all, cases. Al least that has been my own experience.

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