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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.


Lee -I don't know that I would want either of those events in the park but I have to ask... why was it OK if Evil Kenevil jumped without money and publicity but not if he got a monetary gain? It's the exact same act, the exact same impact on the Park. Is it just evil Evil because he would have made money? Is money really that evil a thing?

Correct, Ron. It's located about fourteen miles outside the park on the Navajo Reservation.

But Little Colorado doesn't have the bang that Grand Canyon and probably wouldn't suck in as much money. So what's a little exaggeration or slight dishonesty in advertising?

Reminds me of the time when Evil Kenevil wanted to rocket across the "Grand Canyon" on his motor scoooter. Actually, he was going to jump Marble Canyon at Lee's Ferry. But the nasty old park service wouldn't let him. He kept insisting and when his howlings grew loud enough, the park service said, "Okay, but with conditions. If you're going to do this only as a personal achievement and purely for sport, which you claim is the case, you may do it. But with NO live TV coverage, no admission fees, and no monetary gain for you."

Evil decided not to do it if he couldn't make a bundle of money and publicity.

So he tried to jump the Snake River at Twin Falls and we all know how that turned out.

If I have read the "telegraph" article correctly, the gentleman is doing this stunt over the Little Colorado River Canyon outside of Grand Canyon National Park.


1) Yes, why not?

2) Park administration after allowing for adequate public input

3) Yes

4) No, why should it?

Why is banning everything better than allowing everything? Fact is both those are bad. Is the Park Service incapable of making decisions on a per case basis? I don't think so. Sure, not everyone will be happy with every decision but I'm guessing more people will be happy with reasoned judgement than with outright bans.

While speculating on the impact of a bike race can be interesting, I think this thread has sort of wandered from the bigger questions: 1) Should a national park be the site of special organized events (unrelated to the park's purpose or history) that significantly impact the normal use and enjoyment of the park's regular activities and purposes by the general public? 2) If yes, then who or what decides which events will be permitted -- the park service, local communities, who? Who devises the criteria for deciding? 3) Does the kind of event matter -- a bicycle race or a motorcycle rally, sky diving or hot-air ballooning? 4) Does it matter whether it is a commercial, for-profit event or a non-profit fundraiser?

Honestly I can't see any way to be fair except to say no to all. Grandfather in what's already in existence but nothing new.


Posters tend to exxagerate the potential impacts to make their points. Odds are that impacts would be minimum. It's primarily a sensitivity issue more than anything else. National Park lovers on the NPT board tend to abhor any use of the park that is not a contemplative hike a la John Muir. Anything short of the foregoing is not pure enough. It's a bit weird, but one gets used to it over time.

I love the national parks - and I love bike racing. So this is a perfect combination for me. Unfortunately my trip to the US this year starts only at the end of August...

However, i think people here exaggerate the effect the race will have. Six hour closures? Not even at the Tour de France they close roads for that long. Maybe two, three hours, not more. And in the meantime people headed for Bryce can try out Cedar Breaks instead, Capitol Reef-bound travellers may explore Canyonlands etc. - those unexpected side trips usually are the best.

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