Chimney Rock National Monument Designation Applauded

Press release – President Obama Applauded for Designation of Important Cultural Heritage Site

Conservation Lands Foundation praises Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act to protect Chimney Rock Archeological Area

September 19, 2012 – Conservation leaders celebrated President Barack Obama’s commitment to designating the Chimney Rock National Monument in Colorado as part of the Americas Great Outdoors Initiative. The designation provides permanent protection to the 4,700-acre Chimney Rock Archaeological Area in the San Juan National Forest.

“Chimney Rock is almost certainly the most significant cultural site managed by the U.S. Forest Service,” said Richard Moe, who as president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation began the effort for monument designation six years ago and who has continued those efforts as a board member of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “The national monument designation will bring deserved national recognition to a place of significant archaeological and cultural importance to our country.”

This national treasure, and our country’s newest national monument, represents one of the farthest outposts of the Chacoan culture. Home to more than 200 homes and ceremonial buildings built more than 1,000 years ago, the area is of great spiritual importance to the Pueblo tribes of the Southwest.

“The story of my tribe, the Pueblo of Acoma, and our history is intimately connected to Chimney Rock. This place is still sacred to my people, and we are glad to see it will now be protected for our children and grandchildren,” said Chandler Sanchez, Chairman of the All Indian Pueblo Council and former Governor for the Pueblo of Acoma.  “As a national monument, the ancestral homes of my people will continue to provide inspiration to the thousands of people who visit this site.”

This designation comes in response to support from the Pueblos and other Native American tribes, local community members and elected officials at the local, state and national levels, including Archuleta County Commissioners, the Durango and Pagosa Springs Chambers of Commerce and strong support from the Colorado congressional delegation.

“We are grateful that President Obama has safeguarded Chimney Rock. Thanks to the President’s action, Americans will be able to enjoy this spectacular natural and historic treasure for generations,” commented Brian O’Donnell, executive director of the Conservation Lands Foundation.

An independent economic study released this summer estimated that the national monument designation will double the economic benefit to the local and regional economy.  “As a southwest Coloradan, I know that Chimney Rock National Monument will be a large conservation and economic win for our community,” stated O’Donnell.

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