Udall: Divisions Remain Over Colorado National Monument's Future Following Comment Period's End
'I Will Continue to Fight in Congress to Ensure the National Park Service Works Closely with the Community, Local Residents to Keep the Monument a Vital Part of Mesa County, the Western Slope'
Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, said the results of a recent public-comment period about a proposal to redesignate the Colorado National Monument as a national park show the need for continued community dialogue. Udall said although this rules out legislation over the short term, the community should continue to discuss how a national park designation could help create jobs and protect the Colorado National Monument for future generations.
Udall and Congressman Scott Tipton unveiled a community-driven proposal in April to redesignate the Colorado National Monument as a national park and launched a 90-day public-comment period. Udall and Tipton also hosted a town hall meeting on the draft bill in May. The comment period showed that the community was still deeply divided over the bill, developed by a community drafting committee.
"From the days of John Otto and the Colorado National Monument's founding, Coloradans have debated whether it should become a national park. Although the results of the comment period show more consensus is needed before we can move forward with legislation, this is a discussion community leaders, business owners and residents should continue to have," Udall said. "In the meantime, I will continue to fight in Congress to ensure the National Park Service works closely with the community and local residents to keep the monument a vital part of Mesa County and the Western Slope."
The recently-concluded public-comment period built on years of work to consider the Colorado National Monument's future. Udall and Tipton created a local executive committee in June 2013 to craft a draft proposal to redesignate the Colorado National Monument as a national park. The drafting committee's work followed 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.