Archives for : May2014

Endangered in America: Private Property

The following article by Michael S. Coffmann, PhD., was published in the Fall 2005 edition of Range Magazine. Using maps and policy research, he has built a chilling scenario that should get the attention of all Americans who value personal liberty and private property.

The full 6 page article complete with maps and further data can be read in the Fall 2005 edition of Range Magazine. Please read more here.

Reposted with the permission of Range Magazine.

Will National Park Status Limit Access for School Groups? Climbers?


Although nearby Colorado national monuments-turned-national parks have struggled to attract visitors, other national parks such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite are mulling the imposition of quotas for peak visitation times. Despite the fact that access to campsites, lodging, guided tours and other national park features require special arrangements, sometimes years in advance, simply entering a park does not. But as seasonal overcrowding, overuse, and destruction at national parks becomes increasingly problematic, it is possible that reservations will be required for simply visiting for an hour or two.

Bob Janiskee wrote an article for National Parks Traveler in February 2008 detailing one scenario which might result as the National Park Services grapples with emerging usage issues. It says:

In the worst case scenario, the Park Service might have to adopt truly draconian measures. Some observers believe that it is only a matter of time before we see strict entrance and recreational facility quotas employed. A few have suggested that access to national parks and their recreational facilities might best be regulated by a national lottery, and that a “white market” for park permits should be allowed to flourish.

Here is how it would work. The Park Service would use the best available scientific methods to determine the recreational carrying capacity, acceptable limits of change, and other limiting factors in parks that experience serious overcrowding and related facilities overuse during peak seasons. The key question is how much access and use can be permitted without seriously reducing recreational quality or causing unacceptable damage to physical and cultural resources in the parks.

The agency would then set peak-period quotas for admission and recreational facilities use at the “problem parks.” Each quota would express the maximum number of permits to be issued for visiting a particular park and engaging in specified recreational activities during a specified period of time. The quotas would be partially filled through allocations to tour operators, park concessionaires, various other commercial recreation providers, and presumably some national NGOs. The remaining permits would be allocated to the public via lottery.

Peak traffic times at the Colorado National Monument have already maxed-out roads, parking turnouts, and campsites. As the NPS mulls “draconian measures” to manage burgeoning crowds within fragile natural environments, one cannot help but worry that even locals may someday have to wait to win the lotto in order to simply visit the treasure they see out their back windows everyday.

A school groups hikes a geologically interesting trail near Devil's Kitchen

A school groups hikes a geologically interesting trail near Devil’s Kitchen

With its current designation the Colorado National Monument is very accessible to school groups in the months from March to November. For small groups guided by parents and teachers no special arrangements are needed. For larger school groups doing educational, ranger-guided trips, they may do so with only a week or two advanced notice. Up to 100 students in a group can easily navigate most of the shorter trails in relative safety without the congestion, stress, and increased danger presented by tourists in large guided, or unguided groups.

MSCVD 51 "STEM" Summer School students enjoy a cliff side view

MSCVD 51 “STEM” Summer School students enjoy a cliff side view

Rappelling and climbing are also allowed within the CNM. Many hikers will use rappelling gear to drop into canyons during their excursions. Some groups simply like to focus on rappelling down cliff faces as a sole activity. Independence Rock, the literal heart of the CNM, is a destination for climbers. The traditional 4th of July planting of the American Flag at the top of Independence Rock goes back a hundred years.  Two years ago the NPS tried to ban climbing within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and although some Western Senators were able to convince the NPS to postpone the ban, similar measures are being considered in other parks.

In 2013 the NPS created new “Wilderness Climbing Rules” that limit climbing and rappelling activities in many national parks, and could do so in what is now the Colorado National Monument. The new climbing rules would allow the NPS to remove existing bolts and ban the placing of new ones in certain areas. The Wilderness Climbing Rules also includes a “prior authorization” clause requiring climbers to “approach” park officers to place bolts, and even removable pitons. This means that climbers would have to apply to receive permission from the NPS–a possibly months or years-long process–to engage in the climbing and rappelling activities they so enjoy, and have done so for decades with few barriers.

Those pushing national park status for the Colorado National Monument seem to ignore the negative consequences that come with such a change; consequences that can be seen at other national parks throughout the country. Is losing access to our sustainable, relatively pristine local treasure worth the false “prestige” that comes with the title “National Park?”

More than Just a Name, the Monument is an Identity

The Iconic (and somewhat cornball) Munchies Monument Mural

The Iconic (and somewhat cornball) Munchies Monument Mural

To the people of the Grand Valley, the Colorado National Monument is more than just a visually stunning and culturally important patch of land to be designated this or that by politicians, it’s part of our regional identity. From its inception, the name of the Colorado National Monument has seeped into the lore, the history and the headings of Western Colorado.

Proponents say, “It’s only a name change.” That assertion is ludicrous from both political and economic standpoints, but it’s also a blow to the unique identity built up over a century by those who have lived in the shadow of the Colorado National Monument.

A certain proponent recently stated that “Rim Rock Canyons National Park” has a nice ring to it. Friends of the Colorado National Monument would disagree, as well as the scores of institutions and businesses which have taken its name.

  • Fruita Monument High School
  • The Monument Unit at Grand Mesa Youth Services
  • Monument Village Subdivision
  • Monument Aircraft Services
  • Monument Amusement and Vending Corp
  • Monument Assisted Living
  • Monument Baptist Church
  • Monument Blind and Shutter
  • Monument Cleaners
  • Monument Executive Center
  • Monument Grinding
  • Monument Garage Door
  • Monument Graphics and Communications
  • Monument Homes
  • Monument Inkjet, LLC
  • Monument Inn
  • Monument Laminated Surfaces
  • Monument Little League
  • Monument Medical Consultants
  • Monument Oil Co.
  • Monument Oral and Facial Surgery, P.C.
  • Monument Powder Coating
  • Monument Preschool
  • Monument Presbyterian Church
  • Monument Realty, Inc.
  • Monument Ridge Townhomes
  • Monument RV Resort
  • Monument Storage
  • Monument Survey Company
  • Monument Transportation
  • Monument Truck Repair
  • Monument Valley Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Monument Valley Properties, LLC
  • Monument View Bible Church
  • Monument Valley Liquor
  • Monument Well
  • Monument Well Service Company
  • Monument Wigs and Breast Forms
  • Monument Yoga
  • Monumental Smiles
  • Monumental Events and Tickets

…and there are others.

The Colorado National Monument is our local treasure. A risky redesignation to national park is not just an insult to common sense, its an insult to who we are.

The Fruita Allosaurus on Munchies Monument Mural

The Fruita Allosaurus on Munchies Monument Mural

Save Our Monument! 5/20/14

The following video comprises the full informational program presented by Friends of the Colorado National Monument at the Grand Junction City Hall on the evening of May 20, 2014.

The presenters are:

Kent Carson–Spokesman for FCNM, Kent is a retired engineer and scientist who lives near the Colorado National Monument

Karen Madsen–Bicyclist, reads letter from Charles Quimby

Darlene Gsell–Redlands property-owner

John Ferro–Business owner whose horse business was eliminated after Black Canyon of the Gunnison became a national park

Larry Moyer–Petroleum Geologist

Judy Huffaker–Bicyclist, Redlands property-owner

Richard Huffaker–Retired Physician, gentleman farmer on the Redlands

Brandon Siegfried–President of the Public Lands Access Association

Sandy Peeso–Reads the letter from Curt Robinson



For copies of this video to distribute or share with others who wish to become Friends of the Colorado National Monument, please contact us at

Broken Promises: Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The following letter was presented to FCNM by Curtis Robinson, a retired accountant with a long history in Colorado as an estate expert and stockholder, officer, director, and office manager for Dalby, Wendland & CO. PC. .


May 14, 2014

Friends of the Colorado National Monument


I would prefer to make this presentation in person but was unable to do so.

My recommendation to all of you is to do some research in regards to both the Black Canyon National Park and the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  The Black Canyon became a National Park on October 21, 1999 and the Sand Dunes became a National Park on September 19, 2004.

In both of these transfers, the promoters used the opportunity to lock up substantial additional quasi wilderness areas.

When the Black Canyon became a National Park, over 50,000 acres became the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area with over 14,000 of these acres classified as wilderness.  In 2003, this area was expanded with 14,000 more acres added with the total now being 62,844 acres.  In this case, no private land was acquired, it was all BLM land that was reclassified.

When the Great Sand Dunes became a National Park, the US Government purchased the Baca Ranch and added 97,000 acres as the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. This was private land that became government owned when the Sand Dunes became a Park.

The entire area is now off limits to any use by ATV’s and basically has become an area that only government employees are allowed to enter.

I suggest you contact the Saguache County BOCC and ask them how this impacted the tax revenues when the 97,000 acres come off the property tax rolls.

So my question to you is what lands are they going to add to the existing Monument when this becomes a National Park?  How will this impact the residents of Mesa County?

In all cases, environmental groups install air quality monitors to use to restrict activities near the Park.

They will try to stop all mining, drilling, logging and coal burning plants in the area if they can.

Before the Black Canyon became a National Park, Montrose was told this would increase tourism and bring millions of dollars to the area.  Everyone believed that but it did not happen.

No one challenged the numbers they presented.  You should attempt to make them provide data to support their claims of all the additional people that are going to come to Grand Junction.

The Park Service furnishes the number of visitors to all National Parks and Monuments.  The only problem with this is there is no way to verify if we are being told the truth.

The Park Service claims 192,570 people visited the Black Canyon National Park in 2012.  They have not posted 2013 numbers yet.  The Black Canyon gets very few visitors 5 months each year; therefore, the 192,570 would compute to 775 people per day or approximately 260 cars per day for the other 7 months.

The number of rooms rented in Montrose do not reflect anywhere near this kind of numbers.

The reported visitors to Mesa Verde for 2012 was 488,860.  That is 2 ½ more than the Black Canyon.

Many of the visitors to the Black Canyon are the local residents that are not spending one dime more in Montrose than they would otherwise.  These visitors are counted as being part of those adding to the local economy and I am sure that same thing is happening in Grand Junction.

There is a web page that compares all of the National Parks.  I suggest you use this for info to support what you present.  The page is –

It is my belief Grand Junction will not see any change in the number of visitors to the area if it does become a National Park.

With the smog problem you have had the past couple of winters, it is also my belief that the Community will regret the day if it does become a National Park.


Curtis Robison


National Park Status is a Bad Idea: Informational Slides

Why Turn Sustainable Monument Into an Over-Burdened Park?

With these things in mind, it makes no sense to expose a sustainable national monument to the negative implications of being added to the long list of overburdened, over-traveled, poorly-managed, and increasingly degraded national parks.

Entrance to Kapalua National Conservation Area

Entrance to Kapalua National Conservation Area

Denali National Park

Denali National Park









The Colorado National Monument Advisory Committee convened in 2011-2012 to study the implications of a change of status to that of a national park. In their meeting minutes they noted several concerns, including:

  • “…are there enough parking lots, restrooms?”
  • “Is it possible that the Monument could be restricted to motor coach traffic only?”
  • “Would that eliminate use of the Monument by local individual vehicles and bicyclists?”
  • “…the current road system is beyond maxed-out…”
  • “…an increasing demand for law enforcement on the property…”
  • “…more traffic violations…”
  • “…suicide attempts also require law enforcement attention…”

And much more…The CNM Advisory Committee declined endorsing national park status for the above reasons as well a lack of community consensus on the issue. One thing is apparent. The Colorado National Monument, in its present state, is relatively well-managed and in good repair. A large percentage of its visitors are locals who have an interest in taking good care of the facilities within the CNM, protecting its natural features, and sustaining the delicate balance between human activity and the environment; those things which define its unique geographical location in a well-developed area.

In other words, the existing Colorado National Monument is a sustainable area. Though it could easily become degraded by an increase in foot and motor traffic, it is in good shape. Though NPS managers could easily become hostile to its human neighbors; the commercial and private interests of the Grand Valley, it is still mostly friendly. Though its environment could easily become irreversibly damaged, there are few areas currently that suffer from overuse and human mistreatment. National park status could tilt that delicate balance, harming the Monument and all it has to offer.

With these things in mind, it makes no sense to expose a sustainable national monument to the negative implications of being added to the long list of overburdened, over-traveled, poorly-managed, and increasingly degraded national parks.

A U.S. Senate report from October 2013 details the misuse, disrepair, mismanagement, and general degradation now facing the nationals national parks. Problems cited in the report include:

  • Deferred maintenance backlogs in the billions of dollars
  • Dilapidated infrastructure
  • 70 existing national parks that attract fewer than 100 daily visitors
  • reduced hours of operation
  • long wait times for entrance into national parks
  • expansion of NPS responsibilities without an increase in funding
  • wasteful staffing practices
  • delayed emergency responses in some parks
  • lack of transparency in NPS spending and budgeting process
  • Congress does not always follow the recommendations of National Park Service studies when authorizing new parks
  • Parks created for political reasons [Pork]
  • net loss in dollars per visitor–for example: It costs American taxpayers $221.30 for each visitor to the “Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site” (pg 148) Coburn Report

The list of dysfunctional aspects in the National Parks System is exhaustive. Please read the full report here:  There is also an environmental price to be paid with increased visitation. Read more here:  Proponents of national park status paint a benign picture saying, “it’s only a change of name,” or “the prestige of a national park is worth the effort.” The real implications, however, are not so benign. The existing CNM is a blessing to the people of Western Colorado, with few grievances or instances of poor management. The logical conclusion is to keep it as it is. Why fix it until it gets broken?

False “Prestige” or the Preservation of our Rights?

Crowds amass near Zion National Parks shuttles. Zion NP is a "shuttles-only" park in Utah with roads and geology similar to CNM, but Zion is much larger in size. Nevertheless, it has been closed to private cars and bikes.

Crowds amass near Zion National Parks shuttles. Zion NP is a “shuttles-only” park in Utah with roads and geology similar to CNM, but Zion is much larger in size. Nevertheless, it has been closed to private cars and bikes.

Dear Friends of the Colorado National Monument,

It’s unfortunate that our lands and lifestyles in Western Colorado have become political ping pong balls for some who push false “prestige” and overblown economic benefits as a justification for ceding a local treasure over to federal government control and the crushing regulation of the EPA and other overreaching agencies. It IS unfortunate, but that is the arena in which we find ourselves as we try to defend what we now enjoy with reasonable ease, and that which we care for and respect; the beautiful Colorado National Monument.

Since FCNM organized just weeks ago and our website and Facebook page were launched, the proponents of national park status (loss of local control, increased regulation, harm to our ecology and economy, etc.) have rallied their forces pressuring our legislators to push through a national park with or without a consensus of the people who live within the shadow of the CNM.

Please contact Congressman Scott Tipton (R) Colorado, who represents the district in Western Colorado where the CNM is found. Please call his office (970) 241-2499 or leave a comment here

Do not wait! Politics can be messy, unfair, and deaf to the concerns of those who actually live with the consequences of political dealings. Tell Representative Scott Tipton today that WE DO NOT NEED TO FIX WHAT AIN’T BROKEN, thus jeopardizing our rights for a false sense of “prestige” and a real loss of local control. ACT NOW!


Friends of the Colorado National Monument




225 North 5th St., Suite 702

Grand Junction, CO 81501

Phone: (970) 241-2499

Fax: (970) 241-3053

Letters of Opposition to “Irreversible” National Park

“Promised Overblown, Negatives Minimized”

As someone who already has Colorado National Monument in my back yard, I want to be clear about why I’m not eager to see Rim Rock Canyons National Park there instead.

My concerns are not simply about what might happen in my back yard. I have four main objections:

1. The “locally driven public process” produced a business bill in parks clothing. When the initial process found no consensus in favor of National Park status, we soon learned that was the wrong answer. A new, so-called grassroots campaign was launched to educate us. On the heels of this effort, a new group stacked with supporters was commissioned to write a bill that seems aimed at advancing business interests and protecting the oil and gas industry—not parks and the environment.

2. National Park tourism won’t diversify the economy. Overall national park visits have flattened and are declining in many locations. Bus tours, at the fore of the increased tourism argument, have also fallen dramatically in recent years. National Park visitation is extremely sensitive to the national economy. Any jobs created to serve park visitors will be few, seasonal and low-paid. Actual amenities, not a label intended for low-information travelers, are what will attract the kind of quality development the valley should be planning for.

3. The benefits of a name change have been overblown. It is true that a “National Park” label will attract distant tourists here—in the same way that calling the Grand Junction Rockies the Colorado Rockies might fill more seats at Suplizio Field. Will those visitors find their expectations met by the nation’s fourth smallest national park? Will they recommend it to other travelers after moving on to Arches, Zion and the Grand Canyon? For most of these travelers, we will be a brief stop rather than a destination.

4. The potential impacts have been minimized. Somehow the existing roads will be able to handle more traffic, cyclists will be just as safe, overlooks will accommodate more vehicles, trails and wild areas will remain pristine, and locals—the most frequent users of the resource—will continue to have the same experiences of this treasured place. There’s no such thing as a free ride on the National Park tour. Change always has a cost.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to share the Monument with others. I’m not paranoid about the Federal Government forcing us to breathe clean air. I care about good jobs. Instead of looking for ways to exploit this treasure, however, we should be preserving and protecting the many assets that make Grand Junction a great place to live—because they also make it a great place to visit.

Charlie Quimby 

Grand Junction

“Natural values should determine park status”

National parks are the “best of the best” with their unique natural features. Denali, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier and Crater Lake are examples of our best. They are generally remote from many urban areas and large in size, and they have features that are not found elsewhere. 

If the natural features of Colorado National Monument can compare to the best, then it is worthy of designation as a national park. However, if its natural features are similar to other areas in the region, it should remain a monument. National Park Service statistics show that both the Sand Dunes and Black Canyon have decreased in annual visitors since they were designated national parks, while the monument has continued to increase during the same period.

Thus, upgrading to park status is no guarantee of greater tourism numbers translating into local economic gain. If the primary reason for changing the monument to a national park is now focused on a perceived economic gain for the area, then there is no reason that all monuments should not be upgraded to park status to benefit their local areas. But that may not be a given. Potential economic gain should not be the deciding factor.

Giving the monument national park status may not put it in the “best of the best” category in the opinion of future visitors, which may have a negative impact on the local area. Make the change if it truly meets the values that the best have to offer. Being a great monument is not all bad. 

Ron Bell

“Changing monument to park a bad idea, Opposed by many”

After reading The Daily Sentinel’s editorial of April 29, I continue to be amazed at the naivete of this paper and that small select group of supporters who want to change the Colorado National Monument to a national park.
They keep bringing out the same old arguments about increasing tourism (questionable), unchanging air quality standards (these can be rewritten any time by the EPA), traffic concerns (our bicyclists have real concerns about regulations), etc.

The paper tries to dispel locals’ fears about increasing federal controls that would result from the change. After what has been happening in Nevada and Texas, can you blame citizens for not liking the idea of more federal intrusion from such a change? It is true that parks and monuments operate under the same rules, but parks are the crown jewels and more attention is paid to them. They are currently being used by the environmental movement (through the EPA and other organizations) to control the areas that surround them, bringing undesirable and unnecessary changes to communities and people’s lives.

My friends and I have spent a lot of time getting petitions signed in the Grand Junction area, opposing the change to park status. Most of the signers are happy with the current status of the monument and feel nothing is broken, so why “fix” it?  But, we’ve heard reports from former Park Service employees, residents of Glade Park, visitors to national parks elsewhere and those living outside national park areas that tell a far different story from what our local media do. They include intimidation, over-regulation, unfriendliness, etc.

The federal government is intruding more and more into our daily lives. Our country was founded originally to limit this. Organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency have no business even existing in the USA. When will people open their eyes and see what is happening to our lives and basic freedoms? Let Udall and Tipton and The Daily Sentinel know that changing our monument to a national park is a bad idea from start to finish.

Grand Junction

“Full-throated Opposition”

I hope everyone understands the irreversible nature of the “national parks” process and will oppose the designation of the Colorado National Monument. It’s clear that the caveats in Sen. Mark Udall’s draft legislation are insufficient to protect the interests of Mesa County and businesses and residents that dwell in the shadow of the monument.

The retirees’ organization, along with the National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club, among others, will lobby to strike any measure of local control from this bill. This article proves that a national park is not merely a feather in the cap of a regional tourist destination, but rather a federal enclave that affects everything around it.

Assurances from proponents that the monument will not be designated a Class I Area ring hollow as it becomes clear that the goals of the National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency and non-governmental orgnaizations such as the retirees’ organization are to create broad swaths of “pristine” public lands which are pretty to view, but where human activity is increasingly controlled and non-tourism industry is eliminated.

This legislation will not retain its current form. If introduced into the full Congress, it will be altered to fit the desires of lobbyists from powerful NGOs like the National Parks Conservation Association and other environmental groups who will demand it be designated a Class I Area.

The only way to assure that the lifestyles of residents who live near the monument (farmers, ranchers, business owners, bicyclists, families and the people of Glade Park) and energy interests and potentially thousands of jobs are not threatened by having a federal enclave in our backyard is to assert full-throated opposition to national park status.

Remember, folks: No Class I Areas or national parks have ever been reversed. This constitutes a permanent and potentially devastating change to our way of life in Western Colorado.


Grand Junction

National Park Retirees Seek to Change Protective Language in Draft Legislation


An email addressed to the sponsors of draft legislation that could potentially create a national park out of the existing Colorado National Monument deals a blow to proponents’ assurances that Mesa County and its residents would be protected from the same regulations and prohibitions governing other national parks. The email, dated April 25, 2014, from the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR) to Congressman Scott Tipton (R) Colorado, and Senator Mark Udall (D) Colorado, detailed their disagreements with the draft legislation in its current form. The CNPSR is one of many powerful organizations which lobby Congress and federal agencies on issues related to national parks.

The language in the current draft bill with which CNPSR disagrees are those provisions which were inserted into the bill to ensure that a new national park (in theory) would be compatible with the geographic, economic, and human features of its surroundings. Proponents have attempted to sell the idea of a new national park by assuring those living and working near the CNM that it would remain a Class II Area with no change in current EPA regulation of things such as “haze,” “viewsheds,” and air and water quality. They have also promised that buffer zones requiring the seizure of public or private lands adjacent to the Monument would be expunged from the bill.

Local control by individuals and interests in Western Colorado currently interacting with the CNM has also been considered an inviolable condition for national park status. But in its email the CNPSR actually mocks the creation of  a local advisory committee composed of people from Western Slope associations and businesses saying,

“The composition of this advisory committee, moreover, does not pass the “red face test.” It overwhelmingly represents local interests, some of which are not even park-related.”

Class I Area status, buffer zones, and loss of local control of our lands and lifestyles are exactly what make national park status unfeasible. Provisions protecting Mesa County and its residents from such things are exactly what the CNPSR finds unacceptable in the draft legislation. According to a Grand Junction Daily Sentinel article of May 7, 2014:

The coalition cited several objections to proposed provisions prohibiting a buffer zone for the park; assurances of existing air-quality rules and a proposed advisory committee in a letter to federal legislators.

“What is especially troubling about this draft legislation is that it contains no language concerning the essential reason for establishing a national park, i.e., preservation of its outstanding resources and values for the enjoyment of present and future generations, but rather contains many provisions that make achievement of that goal more difficult,” the letter said. “In fact, this bill raises such significant concerns that we have to wonder whether it was drafted in order to stop progress toward redesignating Colorado National Monument as a ‘national park.’”

It’s very unlikely that there are any plans by proponents to “stop progress” toward national park status. With that in mind, the revelations in this email expose the truth that many have suspected all along; that the draft legislation, with its current caveats and promises, will be altered, the provisions protecting the people and economy of Mesa County removed, and instead of gaining a nice addition to our list of local attractions, we will get a burdensome, job-destroying, D.C. bureaucrat-controlled, nightmare.

One cannot minimize the negative impact national park status would have on our local lands, lifestyles, economy, and long-term viability should it be achieved. No national park or Class I Area has ever been reversed. If proponents achieve their goal and win national park status, it will bring about devastating and irreversible changes to the very things that make Western Colorado a wonderful place to live.

The following are pages of the email from the Coalition of Park Service Retirees to Representative Tipton and Senator Udall: