Monument Bringing in Monumental Revenues to Region
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Over 225 million years old, the Colorado National Monument is a staple in the Grand Valley.
Mary Crooks, a visitor from Britain, said, "It's just a wonderful place, and I'm so pleased we found it."
Superintendent of the National Monument, Lisa Eckert, said, "It's special to have the proximity of Colorado National Monument as the orange-red backdrop to the Grand Valley."
However, its evolved to be much more than a vision of beauty. A new report reveals that the Colorado National Monument brought in over $23 million to the region in 2011, up $2 million from the year before.
Barbara J. Bowman, division manager of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, said, "Our average [Monument] visitor spends about a day and a half in Grand Junction, so of course they stay overnight. That helps our lodging properties and of course they have to go out to eat."
"We contribute over $23 million dollars to this community, which is about 314 jobs," Eckert said.
"It is our top attraction for visitors," said Bowman.
Officials are in the process of making the Monument even more well-known on the international map.
"There is a study whether the National Monument should become a national park and change its designation," said Eckert.
"Even our counterparts in Moab and in Delta and in Montrose are all in favor of national park status," Bowman said.
Gaining National Park status could benefit the region in several ways.
Bowman said, "A national park has a higher perceived value, that's just the way it is."
"Especially for the international market, that perhaps people hone in on the special units that have national park in their title," said Eckert.
No matter what the status is at the end of the day, the park will always be the breathtaking symbol of the Grand Valley.
Looking at National Parks across the country, visitation was up by nearly four million in 2012, compared to the year before.