ABSTRACT OF THESIS:
"A CLASSIC WESTERN QUARREL:" A HISTORY OF THE ROAD CONTROVERSY AT COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
Between 1981 and 1986, Park Service officials at Colorado National Monument, Mesa County officials, and Glade Park property owner John R. Wilkenson were embroiled in a legal dispute over the use of the park's scenic road, Rim Rock Drive. Presiding Judge Richard Matsch's 1986 decision in favor of the county and Wilkenson was based on pertinent laws as well as the unique history of the park's creation and development. In an effort to explain the outcome of the 1986 lawsuit, this study traces the evolution of the conflict that developed between the communities of the Grand Valley and the National Park Service from 1911 to 1986.
The conflict was the result of a variety of factors: 1) local residents' involvement in the park's creation and management led to a proprietary attitude toward the park that conflicted with the Park Service once that agency was established; 2) shifts in Park Service administration and inconsistent Park Service policies allowed local residents to develop unrealistic expectations of the park's role and how they could use the area; 3) mutual community and Park Service interests in road building through the park led to an inevitable conflict over road use; 4) the local attitude toward land use and resistance to the federal government in general contrasted with National Park Service ideology.
This study attempts to accomplish several things. In a local context, it provides a history of Colorado National Monument and the community's involvement in that park's development. In the context of the National Park Service, this study reveals the extent to which local needs influenced park administration and ultimately, the park itself.
Last Updated: 09-Feb-2005