Glade Park and Pinon Mesa

The Road

The roads to Glade Park and Pinon Mesa are an important part of the lives of residents. We have spent a lot of time driving on them, dealing with the physical conditions, and the issues surrounding them. It seems only fitting to dedicate a page to them.

CO National Monument Road News

2013 News Release: Winter Road Plan & Hotline

We knew this would not go away, didn't we?

National Park status for CNM still being pushed.

The "New York Times" Weighs In

For some time now a committee that includes Glade Park residents has been considering whether Colorado National Monument should become a National Park. It seems to primarily be a marketing scheme, so that more people will find out about it, and flock here, boosting the economy in the Grand Valley.

For the citizens of Glade Park it should be pretty obvious that it is likely to lead to a lowered quality of life. Travel through the CNM, which Glade Park is entitled to historically, and by a hard fought court battle, is not likely to get easier. More tourists mean more congestion. More cars, more bicyclists.

There is also the impact on Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department, which is a first responder for accidents in the CNM. It is already stretched to the breaking point by increased calls for emergency services as well as fire fighting. Although CNM has contributed equipment and support, there is no monetary compensation. Increased traffic in CNM will stretch the GPFD even more.

To some it might seem selfish to advocate for the self-interest of Glade Park on this issue. That might be true, unless GP interests are also tied to the best interests of Colorado National Monument. It seems that the present level of visitation is already stretching the capacity of this small park. Increased traffic will impact travel through CNM, wildlife, and trail use. Right now it is a well cared for jewel. Why make it into an over crowded, well beaten path?

It appears that this issue has generated more than regional interest. The New York Times recently posted a story on it.

Residents, many who grew up ranching the high mesas or exploring the monument’s desolate canyons years ago, said the monument was special precisely because it was so easily overlooked by tourists bound for marquee national parks. Some said they worried about car crashes, fires, garbage and increased pollution. They worried that its boundaries would grow, pushing at their property lines.

“Do you really want more people?” one commenter asked. “More problems?”

And: “Please don’t ruin a beautiful place for economic gain.”

See link for the full New York Times story (for as long as it remains online):

Disputing Whether a National Treasure Needs a Name Upgrade

December 30, 2010

Colorado National Monument - Road Status for Rim Rock Drive

Thursday, December 30, 10:00am

The top portion of Rim Rock Drive is now closed to all motorized traffic between the DS Road and the Independence Monument Overlook.

The east hill from the Monument’s east gate in Grand Junction to the DS Road Turn Off to Glade Park is open with winter driving conditions.

The west hill from the Monument’s west gate in Fruita is open as far as Independence Monument Overlook with winter driving conditions.

The Centennial fireworks celebration is on schedule for Friday, December 31 at 8:00pm. All visitors who wish to view the fireworks from the top of the Monument near the Saddlehorn Picnic area, the Book Cliffs View or Visitor Center must enter at the west gate in Fruita beginning at 6:00pm and no later than 7:15pm. Visitors will be directed to parking by event staff. Expect snow packed winter driving conditions on the west hill with some patches of ice on December 31. The west hill is being plowed and sanded to provide for a well maintained winter driving road for visitors on December 31. Shuttle buses to view the fireworks in the Monument will be available from the Dinosaur Journey’s Museum in Fruita, on December 31, beginning at 6:00pm and last bus will leave at 7:15pm to head into the Monument.

Check out the Monument's website for details regarding the fireworks display at

The top portion of Rim Rock Drive will remain closed throughout the storms and predicted storms through at least Saturday morning, January 1. We will advise the public if the top portion of Rim Rock Drive will be open to motorized travel. If snow continues it is likely that this section of Rim Rock Drive will remain closed.

The public may call the park offices for further information at 970-858-3617 ext 360 or ext 300

Joan Anzelmo
Colorado National Monument

Here is a spooky experience. A time lapse trip from Glade Park, down the Colorado National Monument. Whether you continue to Salt Lake City is up to you. Not sure who recorded it, and put it on YouTube, but "Brock 1912" might provide a clue.

A high speed (time lapse) trip from Glade Park down the Colorado National Monument

For a long time I have intended to do a page on the roads that lead to Glade Park, primarily the road we share with Colorado National Monument. Today I discovered the blog of Colorado National Monument's new "transportation scholar." I do not know what a transportation scholar does, but it will be interesting to learn. This seemed to be a good time to start the road page, where we can follow "Fast Times at Colorado National Monument," and fill in the interesting road issues and challenges.

Fast Times on Colorado National Monument

A Classic Western Quarrel:

A History of the Road Controversy at the Colo. Nat. Monument

By Lisa Schoch-Roberts

A graduate student did some excellent research, and wrote an excellent history of the interaction between Colorado National Monument and Glade Park residents.

A Classic Western Quarrel

The "Thelma and Louise" Syndrome

Ear to the Ground Blog entry:

Is "Thelma and Louise" to blame for this?

In case you have missed the flashing portable electronic billboard...and did not get handed a flier at the Colorado National Monument entrance gate. Think they are trying to tell us something? It is all about the wrecked mess left in Red Canyon by an apparently suicidal woman last fall. It was all so "Thelma and Louise," I makes you wonder if that unfortunate ending to an otherwise good movie may have led this poor woman to believe this would be a glorious way to end it all. It is not the first time movies have glorified ill conceived actions. As a previously blogged, it is a double tragedy when someone is both suicidal and bent on going out in a dramatic way that will cost thousands of dollars in clean up, not to mention some risk to the rescue and clean-up crews, inconvenience to commuters, and loss of access to tourists. How much money and man hours will the CNM have to spend on this mess, that could have been better directed toward their mission. That is a poor memorial to a life. New barriers have been installed along the road. Hopefully no one else will be inclined to subvert them to do another "Thelma and Louise."

On a separate occasion, a man intentionally drove his van into the canyon. Although he was suicidal, it was obviously not his time to go.

Rocky Mtn. News story:
January, 2009

Van caught on rock in Red Canyon

Road Concerns

Ear to the Ground Blog entry

“Drug use, speeding, suicides plague National Monument,” is the headline for the Daily Sentinel article about the challenges for Monument staff. If you have traveled that road after dark you have noticed the activity does not cease at sundown. It used to be mainly couples trying to find a find a romantic spot with a view of the city lights. But drinking and drug use have increased, including meth. Cold Shivers point is a hot spot for drug use, as well as suicidal people. Of course Glade Park commuters, and the trucks and vehicles that bring us goods and services, are discussed. It appears to be an unusual situation for a national park road to also be the feeder road for a community. But this interchange has been going on for a long time. (see Glade Park Library, “Classic Western Quarrel”). Be aware that they do have a radar gun now, and they issued 56 speeding tickets in 2006. If you do get a ticket you are dealing with the Feds. They also have some new signs on the way to address the interaction between motorists and cyclists. I will be glad to see that, if anyone pays attention to them. Why do drivers feel that they are entitled to go out around a cyclist wherever they encounter them, even when moving into the oncoming traffic lane on a blind corner? That is nuts. There is lots of food for thought in this article. Let’s digest it, and think about what role we can play to improve things. The decision to move to Glade Park should include acceptance that we need to allow plenty of time for the commute. We have to be willing to share the road with sight-seers and cyclists. Take a deep breath and relax. Maybe that slow poke will keep you from getting a speeding ticket. And if you have a cell phone and notice suspicious activity at night, move on past it, then call it in. Glade Parkers can have a big impact on how safe that stretch of road is.