Recognizing The Colorado National Monument's History

The construction of Rim Rock Drive and the Monument's founder, John Otto.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The Colorado National Monument to the south of the Grand Valley is home to some of the areas best hiking, biking, and many other outdoor activities.

The Monument has been open to the public over the weekend at no charge and will open their doors again this weekend at no cost.

The construction and excavation of Rim Rock Drive is over 83 years old, taking place in 1933.

It was eventually continued to built up till the start of the World War II, where it was post-poned for a couple of years and finally finished in 1950.

Peter Booth, owner and historian at the Museum of Western Colorado, "It picked up again in the New Deal with the start of the Civilian Conservation Corp. All told, the construction from 1933 to 1941, they spent a little bit more that four million dollars on the project."

The area was first explored by John Otto, a free spirit who settled in Grand Junction in the early 20th century.

Prior to Otto's arrival, many area residents believed the canyons to be inaccessible to humans.

Otto began building trails on the plateau and into the canyons.

"He envisioned this as a way to open up the West's beauties to the rest of the country. The way he put in the Rim Rock area, he wanted to allow people to go where only birds could travel before," said Booth.

Without the intrepid curiosity and vision of John Otto, the Colorado National Monument might've never existed or looked drastically different than the scenic landmark it is today.


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