The director of the National Park Service (NPS) has reaffirmed the decision to deny a request by the Quiznos Pro Challenge commercial bike race to hold a stage of the race in Colorado National Monument next year.
NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis made the announcement after being briefed on the results of a meeting among race organizers, local supporters, Park Superintendent Joan Anzelmo, and NPS Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels in Grand Junction on Friday and following consultation with officials of the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington.
“Closing the park to accommodate the needs of a commercial bike race goes against our management policies, would adversely impact park resources, and would deny access to the park to other visitors,” said Jarvis. “Federal law and NPS policy restrict commercial activities in national parks to those that are ‘necessary and appropriate’ to park purposes. This bike race is neither necessary nor appropriate in the park. Superintendent Anzelmo made the right call.”
The park is a popular destination for individual bicyclists, welcoming more than 16,000 cyclists a year, and provides special use permits for non-competitive, non-commercial cycling tours such as Community Hospital’s annual Tour of the Valley.
Colorado National Monument covers more than 20,000 acres of plateau and canyons with towering monoliths and sheer-walled red rock canyons, most of which is enjoyed by visitors driving along the historic 23-mile Rim Rock Drive. Last year, there were more than 430,000 recreational visits to the park creating an economic benefit of nearly $20 million for nearby communities.