Colorado Senator Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, thanked the National Park Service today for cutting red tape and revising its insurance requirements for river outfitters and small businesses operating in national parks and monuments. The change ensures Colorado's outdoor recreation industry can continue to support local economies, create jobs, and introduce Coloradans and tourists to the Centennial State's natural treasures like Dinosaur National Monument.
Udall successfully pressed the agency last year to listen to Colorado's local outfitters and river guides after they raised concerns about the proposed requirements, which would have sharply increased insurance-coverage minimums, placing a disproportionate burden on the smaller companies. While there is more work to be done, this new insurance-coverage minimums are more reasonable and supported by the local Colorado outfitters.
"As chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, I have seen how Colorado public lands support local businesses and our special way of life. I am proud the National Park Service heeded my call and revised its insurance-coverage minimums," Udall said. "This common-sense decision, which I championed, will ensure Colorado businesses can continue to introduce Coloradans and others to the natural wonders of our national parks and monuments."
"I have worked on public lands and in Colorado tourism my entire life. While I fully understand my livelihood and my employees livelihoods are available at the express consent of the people of the United States, their representative and land managers at the National Park Service sometimes ask outfitters for franchise fees and insurance requirements that could compromise the public's access to their property," said Tom Kleinschnitz, owner of Adventure Bound River Expeditions in Grand Junction. "Senator Udall's background and knowledge on public lands has helped our small business stay in business to serve the public and be an important component of the local tourism economy. Public lands dominate our area, and access for the average American is important. The recent proposed insurance requirements would have compromised the public's access and would have certainly put our small businesses at risk. I am truly grateful for Senator Udall's work on behalf of small business in Colorado."
Udall, who will serve as honorary chairman of Rocky Mountain National Park's 100th Anniversary Celebration, has been an unwavering champion of Colorado's public lands and the role they and the Centennial State's outdoor-recreation industry play in creating jobs and boosting the economy. He also has worked to continue to protect Colorado's spectacular public lands and sensitive wilderness areas, including his proposal to create the Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Area near the Arkansas River.