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The government shutdown hurts Colorado National Monument Association efforts

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The Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA) exists to support the educational and research endeavors of the Colorado National Monument. Like hundreds of other like-minded associations scattered across the beautiful landscapes of the National Parks system, CNMA operates a bookstore within the boundaries of the park. For 50 years, revenues generated by the bookstore and association dues have funded everything from college interns to the Junior Ranger Program; financed elementary school field trips; sponsored paleontologists, geologists and artists; and published the Colorado National Monument calendar featuring the work of local photographers.

These days, during the shutdown, while national and international visitors cannot get into national park sites, neither can the employees, staff and volunteers of the Colorado National Monument Association.

“Although there are efforts underway to open some national parks, the shutdown is having profound effects on all national park service units and cooperating associations....The government shutdown is having profoundly negative effects on our organizations and our local communities,” writes Ginny McBride, Chairman of the Board, Colorado National Monument Association.

In the past few days, a few states have made arrangements with the federal government to re-open National Parks.

Says Executive Director, Linda Spinner of the Colorado National Monument Association,
“While we know that the larger parks in the state will be first on the list to open, we believe it is equally important that the Colorado National Monument should be re-opened. Grand Junction serves as an airport hub for visitors to the Utah parks; we need to get them to the Monument as well. And the Monument needs to be opened to our local citizens who dearly love it; the Monument is our backyard.”

With regard to state funding of National Parks, Spinner also notes, “...there are several reasons why Colorado's governor and congressional representatives should take a look at this temporary fix. Factors include current loss of sales tax revenues, loss of entrance fees which fund maintenance projects, and inevitable payment of unemployment benefits to employees of private companies affected by this shutdown.”

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