Bennet Legislation to Expand Rocky Mountain National Park Passes Senate

Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet praised Senate passage this weekend of his two bills to expand and improve management of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). The bills incorporate land donated by former NASA astronaut Vance D. Brand into RMNP and resolve a longstanding land ownership error.

House companion legislation, led by U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse, passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month and the bills now head to the president’s desk for signature. 

“Rocky Mountain National Park is a treasure of Colorado and the country, and I’m grateful the Senate approved our bills to expand it for future generations and clean up longstanding boundary discrepancies,” said Bennet. “I want to thank Mr. Brand for his generous donation, which will grow the Longs Peak region of the park. I look forward to seeing these bills signed into law.”

“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. 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,” said Neguse. “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. These bills now head to the President’s desk and I implore him to sign them so we can deliver for our communities in Colorado and honor Vance Brand’s request.”

“I am extremely pleased that this bill has passed, I appreciate the work Senator Bennet, Senator Gardner and Congressman Neguse have done to pass this bill. This bill will enable our family’s beautiful land that is so worthy of permanent protection to be added to Rocky Mountain National Park. Our family has loved that land and we are proud to donate it to the people of the United States for their enjoyment.” – Vance D. Brand

“I’m grateful for the steadfast bipartisan cooperation from Senator Bennet, Senator Gardner and Representative Neguse in getting our bill presented and through Congress. I’m completely overwhelmed with relief that this long-standing clerical issue will now be corrected.” – David Forsyth 

Former U.S. astronaut Vance D. Brand and his family are donating a 40-acre tract to Rocky Mountain National Park. The property is located adjacent to the eastern boundary of the Park and would provide additional protection for the region’s high-elevation ecosystem. This parcel of land would also provide recreational access and connectivity through a scenic, natural buffer between private lands and three popular trails: Estes Cone, Storm Pass, and Eugenia Mine Trails. These three trails connect to a larger trail network comprising hundreds of miles available to the Park’s 4.5 million annual visitors.  

The second bill that passed resolves a longstanding issue where a 0.18-acre plot containing a family cabin was erroneously transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park when the NPS purchased a larger surrounding parcel. Seeking to regain legal ownership of their cabin and the 0.18-acre plot on which it sits, the Forsyth family proposed a land exchange, which is authorized in this bill.