Category Archives: Press Release

Grand Junction Economic Partnership endorses National Park


Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park commends the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and the GJ Chamber for their recent historic resolutions endorsing re-designation of the Colorado National Monument to the nation’s 60th national park. 

That GJEP and the  GJ Chamber now join the GJ Downtown Association and GJ Downtown  Development Authority and cities of  Grand Junction, Fruita, and Palisade, the Palisade Chamber and Tourism Board, the Daily Sentinel, Colorado National Monument Association and Fruita Rotary as well as  business leaders like Tillie Bishop, Tim Foster, Jamie Hamiliton, Bruce Benge, Josh Penry, Robert Bray and hundreds of other citizens, businesses and organizations who carefully evaluated all the facts and chose to support park status should speak volumes to our community about its intrinsic value and harken back to 1907 when our community first spoke with one voice to  aspire to create a national park.

Creating a national park not only fits the stated missions of GJEP and the GJ Chamber to diversify our local economy but  as importantly it comes to our community virtually free.  Tourism is among the cleanest, most coveted industries in the world.  Visitors don’t regularly use our emergency services, infrastructure or schools but their dollars greatly benefit all three.
 The painful reality is that  Mesa County unemployment numbers hover above 9 percent and local lodging and sales tax revenues are significantly down.  
  The Colorado National Monument is one of few  in the entire country to meet every stringent qualification to become a national park.  Areas with national parks are universally considered desirable places to live, visit and do business.
 Today,  our community stands together in an inspired and vital way, on the shoulders of  community visionaries  who proceeded us,  to create something truly great and good for generations to come.   100+ years after John Otto’s original petition for park status the time for draft legislation to  make it happen  is finally here.  We hope everyone who loves this valley grasps this once in a lifetime chance to join Otto’s legacy and create the nation’s 60th national park.   It’s easy to learn more and  send letters of support to Congressman Scott Tipton and Senator Mark Udall through  our website  at  
If you have ever gasped in wonder at its shadows and light, powered your bike beyond it’s long crest at sunrise and hiked or reflected in it’s sheltering canyons you already get it.   Because of you we stand at the cusp of  local and national history.   Thank you for your support.
Terri L. Chappell
Grand Junction Region Citizens for a National Park.

Palisade City Council, Chamber, Tourism Board Jointly Endorse National Park Plan


February 2013

Grand Valley Region Citizens for a national park are proud to announce that Palisade City Council members have joined forces with the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, and Palisade Tourism Board to offer a joint resolution of support for the proposal to re-designate the Colorado National Monument as a national park.

Members of the Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park made a presentation to Palisade’s City Council members during their Monday, February 11th meeting.   Following the presentation City Council members  voted unanimously to adopt a resolution of support  for the re-designation of  the Colorado National monument to a national park.   Palisade’s City Council later  joined the Palisade Chamber of Commerce and Palisade Tourism Board to issue a joint resolution of support.

The re-designation of a national monument to a national park does not happen without bold leadership and unflagging support at the local, state and Federal level.   This grass roots effort to re-designate the Colorado National Monument represents democracy at it’s best.  We highly encourage everyone to review the facts, ask questions, and if you support the idea of a national park follow the lead once taken by John Otto and now taken up by the cities of Fruita, Grand Junction, Palisade and so many other local organizations,  businesses and citizens  who hope to make a 106 year old dream come true….write a letter of support to Congressman Scott Tipton and Senator Mark Udall.  Three cheers for Palisade’s City Council,  for its Chamber of Commerce and for  its Tourism Board.


Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman


City of Fruita first to embrace re-designation of Colorado National Monument to Park

fruita bike riders

Grand Valley Region Citizens National Park reserves a special place of honor for the Fruita City Council.  In this most recent effort to re-designate the Colorado National Monument a National Park, it was the Fruita City Council who led the way,  as the first local municipality to issue a letter of support.  We believe history will well remember their leadership and support of this historic effort.

The road to national park status has almost never run smoothly, which may explain why over the past 100 plus years only 59 have achieved the coveted status of a national park.  Behind many beloved U.S. national parks you will find the  story of a man or community who worked tirelessly to gain Federal support, sometimes you will also find protagonists who worked equally hard publicly or privately to quash “America’s Best Idea” in their own community.

Here in  the Grand Valley the historic quest to designate our backyard canyons a national park has had many heroes .    John Otto famously declared in 1907, “I came here last year and found these canyons and they feel like the heart of the world to me.   I’m going to stay and build trails and promote this place, because it should be a national park.”   The community overwhelmingly  rallied behind Otto.   Their unflagging  support and the tireless leadership of Otto, The Daily Sentinel and at that time the  Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce convinced President William Howard Taft, in 1911 to designate our canyons,  the Colorado National Monument.    Otto then spent the rest of his life writing letters and contacting legislators to elevate the monument to a national park.

The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce led a second failed attempt to triple the size of the Colorado National Monument and re-designate it a national park in the 1990’s.    Then,  two years ago a study group comprised of  18 locals was able to lay a series of questions to rest but disbanded without taking a position.    It was during that time (before the formation of  Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park) that  Fruita City officials  looked at the available facts, agreed park status was the best thing for their community and issued an official letter  in favor of  re-designation.  Their leadership should be noted.

The National Park Service has closely evaluated the status of the Colorado National Monument and found it is among the very few which  uniquely qualify for National Park Status.   Moving forward,  the municipalities, organizations, businesses and Grand Valley region citizens who have taken up where John Otto and an inspired community left off should also be remembered and honored for standing up, standing strong  and leading the way.    Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.

Pinnacles National Monument re-designated National Park

pinnacles image

Dear friends and supporters of Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park,

The Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park celebrate from afar  the successful re-designation of Pinnacles National Monument to the nation’s 59th  national park.  Their success fuels our own enthusiasm and endeavors as we continue to put out the facts and gain the unwavering kind of support and leadership  that lifted Pinnacles National Monument to park status.

Pinnacles was in the enviable position of having such stalwart support from its local elected leaders that a citizens group like ours was never necessary to convince residents of the endless benefits a national park can bring.  In fact, San Benito  County Board of Supervisors member Jerry Muenzer was so convinced designating Pinnacles a National Park would help diversify and strengthen their  county’s economy (according to Clerk of the Board Denise Home) that Muenzer traveled all the way to Washington D.C. to lobby for the  national park designation.

It just goes to show that even if something is a very good idea all the way around, it still takes leadership and action to get it done.  We are optimistic knowing Congressman Scott  Tipton weighed in on  Pinnacles  rare uncontested House passage, helping it sail to success even in the midst of a highly charged presidential election.  We congratulate San Benito County on its successful bi-partisan leadership and caring stewardship of a national treasure that will benefit generations to come.  Pinnacles had its own John Otto in Michigan homesteader Schuyler Hain.  Like Otto,  in the 1890’s Hain led countless tours of the Pinnacles area and wrote endless articles  urging its preservation as a national park, he also worked for pennies as its caretaker.

If Hain’s life long dream can come true so can Otto’s.   We  hope every local  Grand Valley resident will jump at this once in a lifetime chance to help create the nation’s 60th national park.

Grand Valley Region Citizens for a National Park


GJ City Council gives unanimous support to John Otto’s historic dream

john otto on horseback

Dear friends and supporters of Grand Valley Citizens for a National Park.

Culminating two years of discussions,the Grand Junction City Council stepped up to help  lead that charge for economic growth, when it unanimously approved a resolution in support of re-designating the Colorado National Monument as a national park.

On behalf of GVCNP we would like to commend all members of the Grand Junction City Council for their visionary leadership on what we believe is the single most important thing our community can do to strengthen the local and regional  economy, attract cutting edge businesses and high paying jobs,boost tourism, raise the Grand Valley’s national and international profile,  enhance real estate values, and so ensure the protection of our national resource it would take an act of Congress to change its designation or boundaries.   The City of Fruita preceeded Grand Junction with its own resolution of support and we expect other announcements of support to follow in the next few weeks.

GVCNP members will soon make a presentation to Club 20’s Tourism Committee, among others.  We would be happy to make a presentation to your organization or group as well or simply answer questions.   As we endeavor to engage our entire community in this history making effort and add to our rapidly growing base of support from business leaders and citizens we promise to keep you posted every step of the way!

Thank you for your letters of support to our lawmakers.  Please remember to share the sample letter with your family, friends, and colleagues via e-mail or Facebook so everyone who loves our monument will have the opportunity to add their name to this   historic effort and help make the Colorado National Monument America’s 60th National Park.  Below are links to Senator Udall’s and Congressman Tipton’s comment page where you can cut then paste your letter.

Bringing the nation’s 60th national park to our valley, simply put, is a really, really big deal.  John Otto’s blood, sweat and tears laid the groundwork for this trail we’re on, thank you for helping to build the next link, and giving generations to come a solid path to follow.



Grand Valley Region Citizen’s for a National Park