Grand Valley nonprofit gets creative to raise funds for Colorado National Monument |

Grand Valley nonprofit gets creative to raise funds for Colorado National Monument

Courtesy | GJVCB


There are many new gift items to purchase at the Colorado National Monument’s Visitor’s Center:

• Logo products featuring the Independence Monument and the collared lizard on American Apparel T-shirts and high-tech, short-cuff stretch socks made by the Sock Guy in California.

• Hikers might like a hardwood, handmade walking stick made by Whistle Creek of Estes Park, Colo.

• Cyclists will appreciate the new Joshua Tree organic skin care line featuring sunscreens, lip balm and cycling salves.

• Made in America refillable water bottles from Liberty Bottleworks complement the new Colorado National Monument effort to phase out disposable plastic bottles and “go green” with refillable bottles and water refill stations.

• A new line of soaps made by Fruita-based Canyon Spirit Soapworks will also be featured this summer. The all-vegetable soaps reflect the scents you might encounter hiking the Monument: Desert Sage, Otto’s Trail with juniper scent, and Wedding Canyon highlighting a light spring rain scent. Wrapped in a mesh bag, owner Diana Wegh worked with CNMA to create appealing packaging and a printed message reflecting the need to protect the resources on the Monument.

• The Visitor’s Center store also carries art and notecards produced by many local artists, including Jeff Kochevar, Rob Kurtzman, Buddy Bair, Seth Anderson, Darlyne Merkel, George Callison, Sally Bellacqua, Kim McCormick, and Jerry Bigley.

— Free Press staff report

To promote sustainable business practices and increase profits, the Colorado National Monument’s Visitor’s Center has lots of new local and American-made gifts for sale.

The Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA), a local nonprofit that runs the bookstore onsite, recently debuted more logo clothing (like socks and T-shirts), cycling items, and even hardwood, handmade hiking sticks.

New gift items were approved by the National Park Service because “all products must support the park’s mission,” CNMA Executive Director Linda Spinner said.

The 2014 Monument Calendar will soon hit the shelves, too, after it’s unveiled June 13 at the annual CNMA member meeting. The cost will be $12.95 per calendar.

“It’s a total secret. No one knows (which local photographer) will be featured on the cover,” Spinner said.

Other changes at the Visitor’s Center include new wi-fi for guests and summer hours 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting May 24.

“Just ask at the desk for the (wi-fi) password,” a recent CNMA news release said.


According to Spinner, the CNMA is currently taking on a greater fundraising role for the monument since sequestration of national parks hit earlier this year. On average, the association raises $50,000-70,000, which goes directly back to the monument for programs and services.

In 2013, Spinner wants that amount to grow even more. New products available at the Visitor’s Center bookstore are one way to collect more dollars for monument services. She also expects to put on a fundraising event later this year, possibly with an artistic theme.

“The National Park Service officially recognizes 63 nonprofit membership organizations,” Colorado National Monument Superintendent Lisa Eckert said in an email. “Many parks are grouped under one such organization; at Colorado National Monument, we are fortunate to have our very own.”

The CNMA directly funds walks and talks programs at the monument. Other projects — like the recently installed water-fill station for hikers and cyclists near the Visitor’s Center — are funded by the CNMA, too.

“It’s right at the entrance,” Spinner said. “The cyclists love it.”

Spinner additionally noted that CNMA funds provide bus transportation for students coming to programs at the monument, and funds raised pay to print the monument’s visitor’s guide.

The CNMA is always looking for new members, too. Currently, 369 folks are direct supporters of this group.

For more information about the Colorado National Monument Association, visit or call 970-858-3617, ext. 307 or 308.

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