Open houses set to discuss monumental change

Three more open houses are planned to gather public comments and answer questions about whether or not the Colorado National Monument should become a national park.

Open houses are set for 4 to 7 p.m. April 12 at the Fruita Community Center, 324 N. Coulson St.; April 18 at Bookcliff Middle School, 540 29 1/4 Road in Grand Junction; and April 19 at the Glade Park Community Center, 101 16.5 Road.

People who can’t attend an open house still may comment by sending an email to

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and U.S. Rep Scott Tipton, both from Colorado, announced the formation of a community group last year to explore the possibility of changing the monument to a national park. While implementing such a change literally would require an act of Congress, Udall and Tipton said the process should start on a local level with a community driven effort.

The 16-member committee includes representatives of business interests as well as government entities and groups that promote the monument.

The committee has been meeting since last year to gather information about questions that have arisen about the proposed change, including the effects of national park status on monument boundaries, businesses, Glade Park access, tourism and transportation.

At the open houses, display boards will feature information about various issues connected with the proposed change. Members of the committee will be available to answer questions.

A recent survey conducted by the committee elicited more than 400 responses. The survey results offer a look at some of the publicly perceived pros and cons of changing the Colorado National Monument to a national park — everything from hopes for increased tourism and higher visibility for the region to concerns about possible traffic restrictions and increased regulatory oversight.