Senators Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, and Michael Bennet thanked the National Park Service for responding to Colorado small businesses' concerns and halting the agency's new insurance requirements for outfitters and concessioners who operate in Dinosaur National Monument. The proposed insurance-coverage minimums, 500 percent higher than under current rules, would have levied steep new costs on businesses, including rafting companies and guides, who rely on access to places like Dinosaur National Monument to remain open.
Udall, Bennet and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers flagged northwest Colorado rafters' concerns in a letter sent earlier this week.
"As chairman of the Senate's National Parks Subcommittee, I understand the value of a healthy relationship between agencies in charge of public lands management and small businesses that drive the outdoor recreation economy. That is why I'm pleased that the National Park Service heard and responded to the concerns of rafting companies and concessioners who operate in Dinosaur National Monument," Udall said. "This decision will ensure that small businesses in northwest Colorado will be able to continue to bring thousands of tourists to raft the Yampa and Green rivers through this stunning national monument."
"After rafting the Green River through Dinosaur National Monument earlier this summer with my family, it is no wonder that Coloradans and people from all over the world want to come and experience the beauty in this part of our state," Bennet said. "Outdoor recreation is a major piece of our state's economy, and the National Park Service's decision will help outfitters and other small businesses continue to bring tourists through this amazing landscape."
The insurance requirements, which would have gone into effect in early September, came as part of the National Park Service's solicitation for 11 new concession contracts for Dinosaur National Monument. The proposed requirement would have directly affected rafting companies who take tourists on trips down the Yampa and Green rivers, in addition to possibly affecting other outfitters throughout the National Park system.