GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) – Colorado congressman Scott Tipton says efforts to upgrade the Colorado National Monument to a national park should be driven by the community.

The Republican represents the district that includes the monument next door to Grand Junction. Tipton tells The Daily Sentinel that it’s an open question whether designating the monument as a national park would draw more visitors to the western Colorado site.

Supporters of reclassifying the 32 square miles of red-rock monoliths and canyons say it would bring more attention to the site and boost area tourism. Others have questioned whether making the monument a park would bring stricter environmental regulations that could hamper area businesses.

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall recently held a public meeting in Grand Junction on upgrading the monument. Congress would have to approve the change.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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