Bennet lauds plan for Colorado National Monument

Last week the National Park Service announced a plan to seek public input about how visitor activities in Colorado National Monument are managed.

Colorado National Monument is located near Fruita.

The NPS plan deals specifically with how to manage full and partial road closures on and in the vicinity of Rimrock Drive.

Numerous road closure requests have been made of late by local businesses to provide tourism activities such as guided rock climbing and bus tours.

On Friday Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., touted the announcement as a step in the right direction to balance tourism activity with preservation.

“The Colorado National Monument is a treasure in our state, especially for those who live on the Western Slope,” Bennet said in a news release. “The Park Service’s decision to bring public and local communities together to develop a plan for how the monument is managed is a significant step.

“An open and transparent discussion will help preserve the natural beauty of the area, while also helping to develop new ways to enjoy the monument and bring tourism dollars to the region.”

As part of the planning process NPS will prepare an environmental assessment, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, to evaluate the impacts of a variety of management alternatives, the release states.

To stay consistent with the NEPA process, NPS will provide notice and host public meetings to provide community members the opportunity to present their ideas for park use, commercial services and preserving the monument’s special characteristics.