For two years a working group in western Colorado has studied the possibility of redesignating Colorado National Monument as Colorado National Park. Now an executive committee has been designated to help U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Scott Tipton come up with proposed legislation to achieve the name change.
Among the committee members announced Saturday is Jamie Lummis, a member of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizing committee. In recent years there have been efforts to run a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge through the national monument, but Park Service officials have refused to permit the race, saying the event "conflicts with federal regulations and agency management policies."
The drive to bring the pro cycling race to the monument hasn't ebbed, though. While there have been recent calls for the monument's redesignation as a "national park," they've carried the caveat that local stakeholders have authority to veto Park Service decisions on what uses the monument is appropriate for.
The five-member executive committee appointed by the two Colorado politicians is charged with helping them craft "discussion-draft legislation" that would change the monument's name. In a press release, Sen. Udall and Rep. Tipton said, without elaboration, that they are seeking legislation that "addresses local residents' concerns" around the redesignation.
Following completion of the executive committee’s work, the politicians said they would 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," Sen. Udall said in prepared remarks. "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."
The executive committee, which will meet periodically over the next several months to help draft legislation, includes:
* Kristi Pollard, director of development at Colorado Mesa University;
* Warren Gore, a Glade Park rancher and chairman of Sen. Udall and Rep. 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; and,
* Jamie Lummis, a member of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizing committee.