Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Friday, August 25, 2000
Amy Jewett Sampson
OWENS ANNOUNCES SOUTHWESTERN COLORADO TO RECEIVE $100,000 IN EMERGENCY FUNDING
Governor directs funding to southwestern Colorado for tourism promotion following Mesa Verde fires
DENVER -- Gov. Bill Owens has announced that $100,000 in funding and assistance has been awarded for tourism promotion in the southwest part of the state to attract travelers to the area following the recent fires that struck Mesa Verde National Park.
"I am pleased to be able to provide this funding for southwestern Colorado to help them regain some of the tourism business they lost due to the fire at Mesa Verde," said Gov. Owens.
The assistance includes $5,000 worth of public relations services dedicated from the stateís tourism budget and a $25,000 grant from Colorado Office of Economic Development marketing funds, which are provided by the Economic Development Commission. In addition, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs is providing a $70,000 grant from Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds.
To date, an estimated 23,000 acres within the Mesa Verde National Park suffered damage due to fire. The park covers 52,122 acres total.
According to the City of Cortez, Montezuma County and the Montezuma County Economic Development Council, since the closure of Mesa Verde National Park, campground occupancy has decreased as much as 100 percent and motel and lodging occupancy is down 80 percent. Approximately 25 percent of all jobs within the region surrounding Mesa Verde National Park is directly related to tourism. Cities and counties anticipated to suffer the most significant impact from the recent fire and park closure are Cortez, Montezuma County, La Plata County.
Designated a national park in 1906, Mesa Verde features Ancestral Puebloan structures and cliff dwellings dating from about 550AD to about 1300AD. According to 1999 figures of the National Park Service, visitation to the park is 656,023 annually.
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