Colorado’s Chimney Rock site proclaimed national monument
September 21, 2012 | 03:07 PM
View of Chimney Rock (far right), Companion Rock (Center) and Great House Pueblo (left) within the new Chimney Rock National Monument, part of the San Juan National Forest located in southwest Colorado. (National Register of Historic Places)
President Barack Obama today signed a proclamation establishing the Chimney Rock archaeological area, located in the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado, as a national monument.
The designation was made under the Antiquities Act with bi-partisan support from Colorado officials, the Native American community, local businesses and other stakeholders, USDA said in a news release.
The Chimney Rock National Monument will be managed by the U.S. Forest Service, a division of the Agriculture Department.
“Chimney Rock draws thousands of visitors who seek out its rich cultural and recreational opportunities,” said Obama. “Today’s designation will ensure this important and historic site will receive the protection it deserves.”
“Thousands of people come every year to experience the cultural, and spiritual significance of Chimney Rock,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “With President Obama’s action and the strong support of the Native American community and others throughout the region, this new monument will bring new economic opportunity to Archuleta County and the Four Corners region as more visitors from around the world come to see this national treasure.”
The 4,726 acre Chimney Rock site is home to hundreds of ruins built by the Ancestral Pueblo people about 1,000 years ago, including the highest elevation ceremonial “great house” in the Southwest.
Every 18.6 years during the northern lunar standstill, the moonrise is aligned with the site’s two rock pinnacles. Descendants of the Ancestral Pueblo people return to Chimney Rock to visit their ancestors and for other spiritual and traditional purposes.