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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