On Monday, two bills passed in the Senate to expand and improve Rocky Mountain National Park.
The bills, both introduced by Congressman Joe Neguse, now head to the White House for President Donald Trump's signature. Both passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
One of the bills — the Rocky Mountain National Park Boundary Modification Act — would allow former U.S. astronaut Vance D. Brand of Longmont to donate 40 acres to the park.
The donated area is along the eastern boundary of the park and will increase protection for the park's high-elevation ecosystem. In addition, it would provide new connectivity through a scenic buffer between private property and the popular Estes Cone, Storm Pass, and Eugenia Mine trails, which connect to a large trail network across the park.
Upon learning the bill had passed, Brand said he is “extremely pleased” and appreciated the work of Neguse, as well as Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Cory Gardner for getting it passed.
“Our family has loved that land and we are proud to donate it to the people of the United States for their enjoyment,” Brand said.
In the second bill passed, which is called the Rocky Mountain Ownership Correction Act, the national park will work with a family to resolve an issue where their family cabin and 0.18-acre plot was erroneously transferred to the national park in 1972 and 1973. The family proposed a land exchange to gain back the family cabin. That is authorized in the bill.
David Forsyth, part of the family, said he’s grateful for the bipartisan cooperation and relieved that the issue will be corrected.
“These bills will expand and protect one of our most treasured and historic national parks, one that I am proud is located within Colorado’s Second Congressional District,” Neguse said. “People from all over the world are drawn to Rocky Mountain National Park to experience nature and partake in outstanding recreational activities. It is a place that holds deep meaning for many Americans, and especially Coloradans. I was thrilled to have both bills pass out of the House earlier this month and am glad to see the Senate following suit to take swift action.”