NPS Announces USA Pro Challenge Race Decision 8-14-2012
Contact: Rick Frost, 303-378-0255
Contact: Michelle Wheatley,, 970-858-3617, ext.363
DENVER - Citing conflicts with federal regulations and agency management policies, the National Park Service (NPS) has declined to issue a permit to hold a stage of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge bicycle race next year in Colorado National Monument in western Colorado.
In a letter to the Grand Junction Local Organizing Committee (LOC), NPS Intermountain Region (IMR) Director John Wessels and Colorado National Monument Superintendent Lisa Eckert said that after careful review of the committee's request, the National Park Service cannot issue the permit because staging the race conflicts with NPS Management Policies and the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 2.50).
The letter referred to the NPS Organic Act - the law that created the National Park Service in 1916. The Organic Act does not allow activities that would impair park resources or interfere with enjoyment of the park by future generations. It also notes that NPS Management Policies set standards to ensure compliance with that law, and that the Code of Federal Regulations "likewise imposes requirements that park superintendents must consider in approving special event requests."
The organizing committee submitted its request for the 2013 race on June 17 of this year. The LOC had applied twice before in late 2010 and early 2011 for permission to host a stage of the 2012 race event through the monument. The previous superintendent denied a permit for the race, citing unacceptable effects on park resources and park visitors and noting conflicts with federal regulations and NPS Management Policies.
Today's letter to the LOC cites three principal reasons for denying the 2013 bike race request:
In addition, the letter addresses a 1986 federal court decision regarding public right-of-way on a 4-mile segment of Rim Rock Drive (east hill). In its request for a race permit, the LOC said that decision in Wilkenson v. Dept. of the Interior, 634 F. Supp. 1265, 1280-81 (D. Colo. 1986) prevents the NPS from barring non-recreational use of Rim Rock Drive. In the reply letter, Wessels and Eckert assert that "a complete closure of the road segment to accommodate a professional bike race is inconsistent" with that court ruling.
Finally, the letter notes that a permit denial similar to that at Colorado National Monument was made by Yosemite National Park when organizers of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California professional bike race sought to hold the race's ceremonial opening stage in the park.
"That decision, like ours, was made in consultation with the Washington office of the National Park Service," Wessels and Eckert wrote to the LOC. The monument is a popular destination for recreational cycling, scenic driving, hiking, rock climbing, picnicking, birding, camping, photography, educational fieldtrips, and wildlife viewing. Superintendent Eckert said that she would be happy to consider other types of assistance with events and activities that are appropriate for Colorado National Monument.
- NPS -
The National Park Service's seven regional offices provide localized policy, leadership, and technical support to parks and communities. The Intermountain Region is the largest, spanning the states of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. The Intermountain includes 91 parks encompassing 11.1 million acres; employs 6,000 permanent and seasonal employees, and generates one-half of all National Park Service concession revenues. It has more than 230 national historic landmarks and more than 11,000 properties listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.
Did You Know?
Each Independence Day, local climbers scale the iconic Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument and raise an American flag on top. This tradition dates back to early park promoter John Otto, whose route up Independence Monument climbers still follow.