Petitions Ask Legislators to Revert “McInnis Canyons” Back to “Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area”

Revert McInnis Canyons back to Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area

 Mesa County Commissioner and former House Rep. Scott McInnis got a national conservation area named after himself in violation of a federal House Rule that specifically prohibits Congressmen from naming public works and lands after themselves. The name-change legislation was introduced and passed without input from Coloradans.

Citizens for a Better Grand Junction on July 2 submitted petitions containing hundreds of names to House Representative Scott Tipton and Senator Michael Bennet asking them to introduce legislation to revert “McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area” back to its original name, “Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area.”

The petitions cite many reasons for reverting the name: The 2004 change to “McInnis Canyons” was not sought by anyone in Colorado. Rather, legislation to change the name was introduced by Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, and the only other sponsor was Rep. Richard Pombo of California. The bill was introduced and passed without input or discussion from Coloradans, and, even more egregiously, without any input from members of the committee who worked long and hard to make the area into a National Conservation Area. The name change also violated House Rule XXI, Clause 6 (pdf, at page 35), which specifically prohibits members of Congress from naming public works or lands after themselves. This rule was put in place to eliminate corruption and back-room deals involving stoking Congress members’ egos by naming public works after themselves.

Former House Rep. Scott McInnis

Former Congressman Scott McInnis won a race for Mesa County Commissioner in November, 2014, even though his campaign broke several rules, including illegally posting campaign signs on power poles without permission and standing on city medians in violation of City Ordinance 9.04.250, “Prohibition against standing on or occupying medians.”

The petition also cites how former Rep. McInnis’ reputation was tarnished in 2010 by charges that he plagiarized essays he was hired to write about water law for a nonprofit foundation. The scandal forced him to quit the race for Colorado governor, apologize to the public and refund the $300,000 the Hasan Foundation had paid him to write the essays. McInnis was further charged with plagiarizing a 1994 column he wrote for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News. McInnis admitted in both cases that he had relied upon others for materials rather than creating them himself. A congressman thus tainted is undeserving of having anything named after him, the signers say.

Moreover, renaming a national conservation area after a human being breaks with longstanding U.S. tradition. National conservations areas have never been named after people, but only after the geographic features they contain that make them significant.

“For all of these reasons,” the petition states, “we urge our current federal officials to revert McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area back to its original name, ‘Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area.’ Doing so will right a wrong done to our state’s citizens without our knowledge, restore our state’s integrity and assure the conservation area’s name confers honors not just on one individual, but on the entire beautiful state of Colorado.”

New Novel Tells of Right Wing Extremist Takeover of San Rafael Swell in Utah

Utah's San Rafael Swell area

Utah’s San Rafael Swell area

Kevin Jones, formerly the Utah State Archaeologist and a published novelist, is publishing his latest work, “A Quick Trip to Moab,” as a serial on

The story is about an anti-wilderness protest by off-road enthusiasts that has gotten out of hand. The protesters, fighting closure of an off-road travel area, manage to take over a significant portion of Utah’s San Rafael Swell and find their efforts further fueled by unsavory characters who flock to the area, drawn by the excitement of facing down the government. Federal agencies back away from the confrontation, leaving a vast, lawless area loosely controlled by the protesters, known as the “Recapture Brigade.” Ordinary travelers passing through the area get entangled in the violence, and must use every tool and resource available to them to survive.

The novel raises questions about how citizens protest governmental land-use decisions and whether there is really much difference between environmentalists “monkey wrenching” and ATV enthusiasts “taking back” the land.

A QUICK TRIP TO MOAB is a fast-moving adventure that invites consideration of the complex issues facing wild areas of the west.

If you find the story and the issues it raises interesting, you can read the first installments of the novel at Join in a discussion of the issues on Kevin’s blog at

Grand Junction’s Growing Hate Community

As the feds mull hate crime charges against Dylann Roof, the shooter in the June 17 massacre at a historic black South Carolina church, the presence of hatred, bigotry and intolerance is growing more evident in and around Grand Junction every day, and it’s not a comforting sight.

Remember this hate-filled, wing-nut truck spotted in Whitewater a few weeks ago?

This vehicle provides a sample of the hate-filled mentality of many citizens of Mesa County, Colorado

The truck belongs to a local guy named “Marc” who operates a business that manufactures fake fiberglass rocks sized and shaped specifically to hide an arsenal of firearms. Marc designed the fake rocks to hold rifles, especially an M4 carbine semi-automatic rifle, and, according to his e-commerce website, “a butt load of ammunition.” Marc’s fake rocks come with a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution, and they sell for $925 each. Marc also makes a fake hollowed-out tree stumps that he designed to hide small arms, like pistols.

The front page of Marc’s e-commerce website bears a threatening “WARNING” to all potential customers. He writes,

If you…

  • Are a liberal or in anyway support the willful destruction of America by this [Obama] regime or…
  • Refuse to recognize that this “shining city on the hill” was founded on Christian principles or…
  • Regard English as your “second language” and are content to let it remain as such…


So right up front as part of his business plan, Marc parades his paranoia and intolerance of people with differing political opinions, religions and nationalities.  Below is a photo taken from Marc’s fake rock website, showing Marc and a friend, armed to the teeth with powerful weapons, posing along side the truck he has splattered with paranoid messages.

"Marc" proudly poses alongside his paranoid, hater truck

“Marc” proudly poses alongside his truck

What’s really troubling is that Marc is not an anomaly in the Grand Junction area. He is one of a growing number of Mesa County business owners who are “out” about the hatred and disgust they harbor towards area residents who are different from them. They revile, condemn and insult ethnic minorities, political progressives, women, people of other nationalities and religions, and people of no religion — in short, anyone who differs from them in their beliefs, physical appearance or cultural background.

An Interview with my Mom, Vardith L. Fox, M.D., December 25, 2009

This is an interview I did with my mom on Christmas Day, 2009 in honor of the “National Day of Listening.” According to Wikipedia, it is “an unofficial day of observance where Americans are encouraged to set aside time to record the stories of their families, friends, and local communities. It was first launched by the national oral history project StoryCorps in 2008 and now recurs on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, when families are more likely to spend time together. It was proposed as an alternative to “Black Friday,” a day many businesses see as a high volume pre-Christmas sale day which was actually the day after Thanksgiving.” I couldn’t be with my parents at Thanksgiving, so I did shortly after when we finally were able to get together. I figured better late than never.

My mom was one of the first women to enter the field of medicine, graduating medical school in 1951.