COLORADO'S NEW NATIONAL... PARK! IT NEEDS A NEW NAMENEWS FLASH!
COLORADO IS LIKELY TO BE GRACED WITH A NEW NATIONAL PARK! Colorado National Monument turns 100 years old May 21, 2011.
Climber, writer and self-proclaimed "radical of the safest kind" John Otto lobbied local politicians, Congressmen, Senators, and even consecutive sitting Presidents on a weekly basis. He built trails, climbing routes, and raised funds to create and NATIONAL PARK in the canyons and towers above Grand Junction, Colorado. He was a patriot of the purest form. his original names have mostly been lost, but he named most of the towers and monuments for our greatest United States historical figures; George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Gold Star Veteran's Canyon, Columbus Canyon. He had his short term wife carve the "Declaration of Independence" complete with a huge John Hancock and the courageous signatories.
Many local and state politicians championed the cause and arrived on "Colorado" National Park, but it did not have the land size to warrant a park. President Taft who had visited the Palisade Peach festival the year prior and preserved the "Colorado National Monument". John Otto was named it's superintendent and sole employee at $1 a month. He continued building trails, fences, climbing routes alone, surveyed the Serpents Trail, an automobile road John called the "curviest road in the world." He raised funds with local boyscout troops and brought in Bison that roamed the walls until early 1980s. He continued to be an un-abashed promoter and political commentator for woman's suffrage, against the local KKK party, against the communists. Eventually he chafed under the load bureaucratic correspondence with the Interior, and felt unappreciated by the socially-conservative (read scary) locals who cared little to conserve their God-given lands or their fellow man's -or woman's personal rights.
John left to Yreka, California to retire in a former Post office he painted red, white and blue. He worked a low yield mining claim in the cool shade of a forested creek. He went on contributing radical social commentary to local editors until his quiet death in depths or poverty.
Grand Junction locals Michael O'Boyle, Dave Fischell, "John Otto: Trials and Trails" author Alan J. Kania and others gathered money and drove a powerful headstone of durable sandstone tower over a black rock base to replace the rusted stake marking his burial. We now have the opportunity to honor his life's ambitions and share his "heart of the world" with the world. If we can distinguish his lovely towers from the canyon parks that surround it...
COLORADO TOWERS NATIONAL PARKI recommend A Name including the distinguishing features on the Monument to separate our park from CANYONLANDS, BLACK CANYON, ARCHES P, So far the dominant name suggestion has been Colorado CANYONS." We will not stand out from the CANYON PARKS that ALREADY EXIST. When we show photos of our Monument, THE Feature that sets us apart from CANYON country is the photos of the TOWERS. Of the 450 Foot Tall INDEPENDENCE TOWER!!!
I suggest the names for consideration, COLORADO TOWERS, "TOWER RIM NP" RIM OF TOWERS NP" OR INDEPENDENCE TOWERS NATIONAL PARK.
I know this suggestion sounds foreign to locals and those familiar with the Monument and proud of the Colorado name. I agree. But I have though about this for years, and to visitors who might come here, we need to tell them what an amazing view and adventure they are in for. They can DRIVE TO Canyons in both directions, and we have Arches TOO, But WE HAVE the strongest feature that nature can afford.WE HAVE TOWERS!!! Please think from an outside view what will entice folks to visit us, spend money and then they will leave? More canyons? Nay, "INDEPENDENCE, COLORADO, ETC TOWER,TOWERS, TOWERS! TOWERS WILL BRING THEM, and God already built them!!! how cool is that?
When we had hard times after the Great Depression, we invigorated national pride by working on improving our parks. I know we can do this again. I want to share our beauty. Please join in sharing our lovely scenery with the world.
We will only grow in our pride and joy of this land for it. Ask those near Grand Teton NP who fought against the National Park status if they are less proud of where they live now... I grew up here. I was always inspired by John Otto and his ambitious, fervent desire to make a National Park in this valley. I think he was right.
We'll be just fine if we don't. but if we have the chance to did something great, I want to do all I can to be a part of it. Thank you God for this opportunity! Thank you Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade for charging forth again toward a bright future. We can do this together, so let's roll!
"INSPIRING NAMES" ON MAPS MATTER! A LOT.Imagine yourself on a road trip seeking out INTERESTING places to add adventure to your life and to impress your family and friends with the fine photos you bring, or send home in post cards. The map that reads "RIM OF TOWERS" National Park looks awesome! It is going to mean more and say more about this area and the AWESOME place you saw on your trip. COLORADO is cool on its own. COLORADO with a NEW _______________"TOWERS" NATIONAL PARK is going to put this place on the map for ever more.
Please consider this name when we discuss National Park Status. Regardless of the name, please join in the movement to share our great lands with more enlightened visitors.