Colorado National Monument Association

Winter 2022 Newsletter

Executive Directors Message

CNMA Members,

I’m consistently overtaken with gratitude in my daily life. I’ll spare ya’ll the long list, but I will mention nature, my job and my community are at the top of my list.

Most of us live in the Grand Valley where most days the sun is shining. There’s also public land surrounding us - whether we want to cross country ski, hike, bike, or simply sit and breathe - we have the ease and accessibility that few places can match.

My drives to work aren’t bumper to bumper, but instead feature bighorn sheep and friendly cyclists. This is my kind of traffic! Then I arrive at work where National Park Service (NPS) employees and Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA) employees are working hand-in-hand to help preserve a very special place. We also work to allow opportunities for engagement and inspiration for visitors and locals while they travel through these stunning red rock canyons.

Everyone working in the monument is grateful for our community and our members.

There is so much that could not happen without the support of so many. We are 350 CNMA members strong which brings in roughly $30,000 each year, but beyond the money, you all have helped with seasonal NPS housing, supplying volunteer hours for numerous programs and so much more. We’re so thankful for all of you!

There’s also the support from local businesses as well as the Rotary Club of Grand Junction and the Rotary Club of Fruita. Our community is incredible and I feel lucky every day to live here.

Foundations are also instrumental to our success. Through the facilitation of the Western Colorado Community Foundation we received a generous grant from the Dave and Mary Wood Fund. This grant funds a strategic marketing initiative which includes a new website. We can’t wait to share our new website with you when it’s finished early next year.

All of this support means we can help build the capacity of Colorado National Monument and help many programs and projects. Here are a few ways we have provided aid to the monument in 2022:

- All supplies for the Junior Ranger Program

- An extra $71,000 to go toward the Saddlehorn Amphitheatre Project

- Field shirts for monument employees working out in the hot desert sun

- Support for educational materials

- Bus transportation for students to travel to the monument on field trips

- $33,700 to fund a year-long social trails internship

- Plus more! With the exception of our Saddlehorn Capital campaign, this is by far the

most we have ever given to the monument in direct aid!

Thanks for everyone who came to our CNMA annual member meeting. We want to also extend a big thanks to Eureka! for letting us use their amazing museum for the event and helping with logistics. We had fun celebrating a busy year with all of you.

To briefly re-cap, CNMA provided 20 free educational programs (Walks and Talks) and we participated in the Preserve America Youth Summit, Tour of the Moon, the Monument and Canyons Plein Air Invitational, farmer’s markets, non-profit of the months for Hot Tomato, Pablo’s and Timberline (big thanks to these businesses), support at the visitor center and more!

We also are about to wrap up the second best year ever for bookstore sales! We are trailing right behind 2021’s huge, record-breaking sales with over $616,000 sales (gross) as of the end of November. With additional income from grants, art sales, donations and membership, we are currently over $795,000 for gross profit which is up by over $12,000 from our record-breaking 2021!

These big numbers mean we can continue to give the monument a large amount in financial aid in 2023. We continue to look for the best ways to support our beloved monument and ways to engage with the community.

Again, I’m so thankful for being able to support this amazing history and landscape, the staff that works hard to preserve it and the people that find respite and recreation on this piece of public land.

Thanks for being an integral part of this support. I’m very grateful for every one of you.

Happy holidays,

Johanna van Waveren

CNMA Co-Executive Director

Social Trails Update - December

by Ben Landolt


Example map of social trails that have been documented in the vicinity of Devils Kitchen, near the monument’s east entrance station.

Happy December to all! As the spirit of the holidays permeates the (increasingly chilly) air around us and World Cup fever reaches its zenith (for those who celebrate such things), I thought I’d take another opportunity to give a little status update

on the monument’s social trails inventory project.

In the time following my last update in September’s newsletter, I was able to finalize data collection and wrap up the field mapping chapter of my time here at the monument, ending with a count of over 400 informal trails which collectively extend for 62 miles (for reference, the park’s formal trail system has a cumulative length of just over 44 miles). This comprehensive inventory will prove to be highly useful to park leadership as they assess the scope of this issue and work to implement solutions which benefit our important resources and park visitors alike.

In my remaining time at the monument (3 months & change), I’ll be working diligently with GIS software to produce maps analyzing our social trails’ spatial variability and distribution patterns (see Devils Kitchen example above) while summarizing my findings for publication in the NPS Natural Resource Report Series and preparing my data for further use by staff here at COLM. Stay tuned for one more update in the spring!

Ben Landolt is Colorado National Monument's year-long social trail intern. This is a Scientist in Park internship made possible by a 12-week financial award from the NPS Scientists in Parks program and the generous support of Colorado National Monument Association to fund the remaining 40 weeks of Ben's internship.

Over in the Monument...

by Cassandra Fenton, PhD (Assistant Professor of Geosciences, Colorado Mesa University)

I’m standing at the front of a 100-person, stadium-style lecture theater, and I’m trying to explain red rock country. “You know, red rocks, like the ones you climb or bike on in Moab, or even better, those we see just over in there, in the monument.” I wave my arm and point to the ‘over there’ behind the south-facing windows.

I’m a geosciences professor at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) here in Grand Junction. I do a lot of arm waving (insert audible laugh). It’s almost a requirement, a genetic predisposition, even. I teach first year students about Big Geo Country – mountains, mesas, plateaus – all of which we have in spectacular abundance on the Western Slope.

“Oh, I’m getting my arm workout today!” I say, laughing, as I describe with my arms and hands, the eruption and movement of ancient, red-hot, Hawaiian-like lava flows that are now frozen in time on top of Grand Mesa.

“And here? Here’s my modern-dance interpretation of a giant, Saharan-like sand dune forming sand cascades and cross bedding on its slip face and migrating laterally across a grand sand sea,” I say, laughing again, as I lecture about the Jurassic sand dunes that are now locked up in my favorite of all rock formations – the Wingate Sandstone. “There are amazing exposures of the Wingate, over in the monument.”

“The monument shows off some serious, world-class geology! People travel from all over the world to experience what we have here, every day, in our own backyard!”

The instructors in our Geosciences Program often joke about how the monument is basically another one of our official lab spaces. We start each semester teaching first-year students, geosciences majors and non-majors alike, about the minerals organized in tiny boxes in wooden trays in our labs on campus, and as soon as we can, a few weeks into the semester, we transport the students in space and time to the monument, to see rocks and minerals ‘in their natural habitat.’

“Today, over in the monument, we’re going to measure the wind direction of Jurassic winds. We’re going to find cross beds in the Wingate Formation. We’re going to stand on the tops of the cross beds and imagine we’re standing at the crest of a giant, active dune. We’re going to imagine we see nothing but sand, as far as the eye can see.” Reader, you’re already imagining me arm-waving, aren’t you (insert a gleeful audible laugh)? “Now, imagine at the top of that dune, we feel the winds on our back, we see the wind swirling and moving fine sands around our feet, across the dune surface, and down the slip face. The slip faces are now locked in place in the Wingate Formation. So, now we can measure the wind direction and compare Jurassic wind patterns and desert climate with today’s wind patterns and climate here in western Colorado.”

I arm wave to gather our students to the loading area for our vans. I point out to the other driver where we’ll meet, at the trailhead in the monument. As we drive off, over to the monument, I think to myself once again, how I have the best job in the world. In fifteen minutes, we’ll be studying outside, under pleasant blue skies, surrounded by red-rock cliffs, with our boots on the Wingate Formation, and I’ll see all the light bulbs going off above our students’ heads, as they imagine and understand our Jurassic World. Right in our back yard.

Over in the monument...

Interested in learning more about CMU’s Geosciences Program?

use the QR Code below for more information  


Wingate toad watches

Entrada palace of Hutt

While red dragon sleep

by S. Merrall

Artist Spotlight:

Devan Penniman

Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA) is thrilled to be piloting a new membership perk which features a new local artist each year.

The chosen artist agrees to make a member’s only design to be placed on a sticker and this sticker is given to each member who joins or renews in that calendar year. We have wanted to create something that says thanks to our members and that you can rep around town showing your support of CNMA and the monument. We also want to showcase some of the very talented members of the local art community. We hope you enjoy!

This monumental design is created by Devan Penniman and we couldn’t be more excited to highlight her and to show you the artwork she made exclusively for you, our CNMA members.

We also want to offer an attempt to get this design on another product if you aren’t a sticker person, so just let Johanna know if you love this design and want to see it on a mug, patch, hoodie, etc.

We hope you enjoy this member’s only perk. Please read below to learn more about Devan. She looks forward to teaching a couple of workshops next year, so perhaps you can meet her in person sometime in 2023!

Devan is a letterpress printer, designer, printmaker and creative problem solver. She discovered letterpress 8 years ago and hasn’t stopped printing. She has a studio at The Farm in Fruita as well as helping run Desert Dog Press, a community print shop in collaboration with the university. She picked up printmaking two years ago in 2020 when the world got a little weird and she had some extra time to learn a skill. She finds block printing and letterpress printing to be meditative and a great way to create using her hands. She has a B.F.A. in Visual Design from CMU and has been living on the western slope for 10 years.

Most of the inspiration behind her work has to do with living in the high desert. She loves being able to sit down with a block and carve it, or sitting down with a drawer of type, hand-setting and printing on one of her old printing presses.

If she isn’t creating or teaching workshops you can find her in Fruita with her two dogs and partner. She loves exploring canyons, hiking out in the desert, collecting plants and devouring sci-fi books.

Board Member Spotlight

Let's get to know Ken Kreie...

Ken, how long have you lived in the area?

I have lived in the Grand Valley pretty much my whole life. I moved away to the Colorado plains when I was 19, but came back a few months later to attend Mesa State College, now CMU.

What is your favorite aspect of living in Fruita?

There is a group of creative folks that connected in Fruita over a decade ago and have been slowly impacting the culture here. Downtown is thriving and a lot of great businesses are moving here. Fruita is no longer just a bedroom community to Grand Junction, and residents are now shopping, dining, and working in Fruita and they are engaging in the community.

What do you do for the DOE?

The Colorado Plateau played a critical role in winning World War II and the Cold War. The price tag of winning is an environmental legacy that the Federal Government has been addressing for the past 50 years. My office at the Department of Energy was started in 2003 to manage stewardship of the sites related to the Manhattan Project after environmental cleanup was finished. A local example of one of our sites is a Former Uranium Mill that is now Las Colonias Park in Downtown Grand Junction. I manage several of these sites across the country.

Do you have a favorite monument memory?

I have very fond memories of picnics at Devils Kitchen when I was a kid and taking school trips up some of the hiking trails, but my favorite memories were weekend wanderings with a special girl when I was a young adult.

You’re such a great community member. Besides being the chair of the CNMA board, what else are you involved in?

I am on City Council in Fruita. As a member of council I am also appointed to other boards like the Grand Valley Regional Transit Authority Board and the newly forming Fruita Housing Commission. I am a founding member of Cavalcade, a non-profit performing arts space in Fruita. I also serve as my HOA President and as a member of the Elmwood Lateral Ditch Board.

Do you have any talents (hidden or not) that you’d like to share?

I like to sing and make people laugh. Hopefully not at the same time. And although my wife calls it junk collecting, I am also a pretty good treasure hunter.

Thank you Ken for all that you do for CNMA and our community!

Fall Walks and Talks

We had some great Walks and Talks this past fall.

Thank you to our generous presenters for their time and sharing

their passion and knowledge.

Geology lessons with

Dr. Cassie Fenton


Bat program with

Dan Neubaum


Moonlight hike with

Briana Board

Eureka! Science Museum

Yoga in the park with

Karen Mahoney


We are looking forward to a hosting a full schedule of events for 2023!

Then and Now with

Terri Ahern

CMU Students Collaborate with National Park Service on

Colorado National Monument Film for Visitor Center Theater

Titled “The Heart of Time,” the film illustrates the geologic events that shaped the beautiful rock monoliths and canyons, and commemorates the people, plants and wildlife that have inhabited it. Click link below to read full article.

CMU Film project

End of Year Giving!

There is still time to make charitable donations this year to Colorado National Monument Association. Help us protect and preserve Colorado National Monument for generations to come. Click on either link to donate:


CNMA Donation Page

Need a few last minute holiday gift ideas?

CNMA memberships, Colorado National Monument park passes, Banff Film Festival Tickets are great gifts that keep on giving! Click on the links below (no wrapping required!)

CNMA Membership
Colorado National Monument Passes
Banff Film Festival Tickets

Join us for a live showing of the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival at the

Avalon Theatre on February 24 and 25, 2023.

Two nights of different, jaw-dropping films.

Doors open at 6:00 PM. Films begin at 7:00 PM. 

The cost will be $25 per person per ticket plus additional fees.


Your ticket purchase will support Colorado Canyons AssociationColorado Mesa University International Student Program,  Colorado National Monument Association,  Western Colorado Conservation Corps and Partners.

The Ramblebine Brewing and CNMA Collaboration Beer Release is Here!

A holiday inspired brew sure to warm the holiday spirit!

Label artwork by Grand Junction artist, Michael Bachman.

Grab a 4 pack at Ramblebine for yourself or a friend and support the CNMA.


Park hours and holiday schedule

Visitor center hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The visitor center is closed Christmas Day (December 25th), and New Year's Day (January 1st).

Campground Hours:

The Saddlehorn campground is open year-round, 24 hours a day. B and C loops will close for the winter season, and A loop is open all year.

When you visit Colorado National Monument please drive carefully. The road conditions can change dramatically due to elevation changes and in areas where the road is shaded all day.

For updates on storm or temporary closures call the park hotline at (970) 858-3617 ext 350. At times, Rim Rock Drive may close due to rock slides, snow, or other events. The park hotline is the best way to get the most current updates.

CNMA Staff and Board Members:

John Lintott- Co-Executive Director

Johanna van Waveren- Co-Executive Director

Sharon Dixon- Office Manager

Camille Jestrovich- Membership Coordinator

Karen Mahoney- Program Coordinator

Carol Dominguez- Sales Associate

Nancy McGuire- Sales Associate

Ken Kreie- Board Chair

Mark Swain- Vice-Chair

Lori Franks- Treasurer

Melinda Shishim- Secretary

Dave Conner

Kauai Fitt

Debbie Kovalik

Danni Langdon

Victor Ketellapper

Michael Paxson

Thanks to our Business Sponsors...

Interested in becoming a business sponsor for CNMA?

Learn More Here

Thank you, CNMA Members, for your support! Happy Holidays!