A move to upgrade Dinosaur National Monument to national park status is picking up steam in northwestern Colorado as dreams of energy development there fade.
A dozen organizations and governmental entities in the region have passed resolutions supporting the change, said Dennis Huffman, monument superintendent.Huffman said many people still worry, however, that national park status would place stringent restrictions on air and water quality standards for the area.
Interest in changing the monument's status first surfaced in 1985, Huffman said, but the potential for energy development in the area was high and the plan got little support because of fears that strict environmental standards would prevent industrial growth.
Dinosaur National Monument is best known for the Quarry Visitor Center, one of the greatest concentrations of dinosaur bones in the world. The 211,142-acre park on the Colorado-Utah border also contains miles of river and canyons.
This year, about 500,000 people visited Dinosaur, and that number could double if it were a national park, Huffman said.
"To the east is Rocky Mountain National Park, north are Yellowstone and Grand Teton, west is Great Basin and south is the Canyonlands. Dinosaur's in the middle of that hub and lends itself to circle tours for family vacation," he said.