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Comments in support of Chimney Rock National Monument

Chimney Rock National Monument joins seven others managed by the Forest Service

Chimney Rock fact sheet

Read the Chimney Rock National Monument Proclamation

Forest Service-Managed National Monuments

“Remembering and recognizing the importance of Native culture is an import part of our role as communities of faith and as Coloradoans. For too long, tribal cultures have been overlooked and disregarded yet we have much to learn from these neighbors. Supporting protection of cultural landmarks that remain of great significance to these communities is in keeping with our Christian calling to love our neighbors as ourselves.”

The Colorado Council of Churches


“The cultural continuum that characterizes the Four Corners illustrates the human experience and resourcefulness that happened here over time, and Chimney Rock is a key chapter in that story.  Joining other sites in the archaeological network, it adds important detail to a fascinating story of people and land.” 

Susan Thomas
Coordinator, Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway
Four Corners Regional Geotourism Stewardship Council


“Archaeological sites are a nonrenewable resource, each containing unique information about the human past. It is appropriate to preserve in place as large a range of these sites as possible. The [Chimney Rock site] is rich in cultural and natural resources and holds a unique place in the Ancestral Puebloan world with its distinctive mesas and spires and surrounding terrain. Designation of Chimney Rock as a National Monument will ensure the area’s protection for the future and help provide the resources necessary to care for this irreplaceable resource. “

Joan Ward
Chimney Rock Interpretative Association


“The stunning geology and unique landscape at Chimney Rock has been recognized for centuries. A National Monument designation would bring attention to Chimney Rock’s significant shared culture and heritage. In addition, local communities would benefit economically by additional tourists that would come to see and learn about Chimney Rock’s place in history.”

Elise Jones
Executive Director
Colorado Environmental Coalition
Pete Maysmith
Executive Director
Colorado Conservation Voters


“Chimney Rock is considered by many to be the most significant cultural site managed by the Forest Service nationwide[.]  This geologic and cultural marvel sites on roughly 4,700 acres of public land within the San Juan National Forest.   A National Monument designation would not only give Chimney Rock the true recognition it deserves, but would also secure the economic future of the region.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall and
Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton


“Chimney Rock is a treasure of national significance. With more than half of Archuleta’s County’s land being in public ownership, the County is well aware of the economic values that public lands provide. Hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, and other similar pursuits are a critical component of the community's economy. The greater recognition and visibility associated with national monument designation for Chimney Rock will add heritage tourism to the list of key economic drivers, bolstering our County’s tourism businesses that continue to struggle with the lagging recession. Accomplishing National Monument designation. . . will benefit Archuleta County’s businesses, residents and ultimately help to secure the regional economy for the future.”

Clifford Lucero, Chairman
Michael Whiting, Vice-Chair
and Steve Wadley
Archuleta County Commissioners


“Chimney Rock and our other national parks and monuments are at the heart of the American values our veterans fought to protect. Today, these places offer our families recreation and recuperation—from everyday life, work and war.”

Garett Reppenhagen
US Army 1st Infantry Division OIF Veteran
Rocky Mountain West Coordinator
Vet Voice Foundation


“As mayor of the Town of Pagosa Springs, I am writing to express our community’s strong support for the national monument designation of Chimney Rock[.] Despite its well-recognized historic and cultural values, the generous efforts of our community’s volunteers, Chimney Rock lacks the protection it deserves. National monument designation would provide that protection, and help to ensure the area’s stewardship into the future.”

Ross Aragón
Town of Pagosa Springs


“The value of this site exceeds that of many other important sites in the area for two reasons: its astronomical role in the overall Chacoan system and the proof it provides of the extraordinary understanding of the solar system the ancestral Puebloans possessed. This, along with the expected economic benefit to Colorado and the entire Chacoan area (CO, NM, AZ, UT), is the primary reason why the [League of Women Voters] should support it.”

Barbara Mattison,
Program Vice President,
League of Women Voters of Colorado
Marilyn Brown
Program Coordinator
League of Women Voters of La Plata County


“As the State Archaeologist for Colorado, I work for the institution that carried out the first major investigations at the Chimney Rock great house. The excavations demonstrate the unique character of this ancestral Pueblo site. I join many other organizations and individuals in respectfully requesting that you use your authority under the Antiquities Act to establish Chimney Rock National Monument to give this amazing cultural resource the recognition, resources and protection it deserves.”

Richard H. Wilshusen
State Archaeologist of Colorado
Colorado Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer


“Chimney Rock is the most important cultural site managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and, as such, deserves additional attention and designation that recognizes its significance. A designation would attract public attention and increase heritage tourism to Archuleta County and the Four Corners area.”

Letter from more than 115 Pagosa Springs and Durango businesses


“With more than 200 dwellings, and several ceremonial sites, the Chimney rock area is not only an impressive natural feature, but amazing historically and culturally. Monument status would increase the visibility of the sites, encouraging visitors and help to support the region’s economy. It would also give support to efforts to properly steward he site, preserving this national treasure for future generations. Chimney rock, with its important historical and cultural significance, is a perfect example of what the [Antiquities Act] was intended to protect.”

Dan Randolph
Executive Director
San Juan Citizens Alliance
Op-Ed, Durango Herald, May, 10, 2012


“While those who live near the site in Southwest Colorado have long appreciated its significance, [a national monument] designation would bring broader recognition and allow Chimney Rock to better compete for outside grants and funding. Becoming a national monument would be a beneficial development, both for preservation of the site and for the economy of the hard-pressed Four Corners area. We strongly support the move.”

Denver Post Editorial, May 18, 2012


“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. As a southwest Coloradan, I know that Chimney Rock National Monument will be a large conservation and economic win for our community.”

Brian O’Donnell
Executive Director
Conservation Lands Foundation


“Chimney Rock is almost certainly the most significant cultural site managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The national monument designation will bring national recognition to a place of significant archaeological and cultural importance to our country.”

Richard Moe
As president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Moe began the effort for monument designation six years ago and has continued those efforts as a board member of the Conservation Lands Foundation

“Chimney Rock helps us understand the story of the Chacoans, ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians, most of whom do not have a written history.   Their history is written on the landscape, in the structures and in the traditional cultural practices at places like Chimney Rock.  Their story is an inextricable part of our collective American story.  The action taken by President Obama will ensure that this unique and important sacred landscape is given the level of protection and recognition it deserves.  In a very tangible way, preserving Chimney Rock helps to weave our multi-cultural nation together.”

Stephanie Meeks
National Trust for Historic Preservation


"We commend President Obama for using his authority to protect this important piece of America. National monument designation honors and benefits this important cultural site, the local economy and regional tribes. Protecting public lands is good for communities, good for business and good for nature. We hope that President Obama will continue to secure these benefits for other natural wonders that are worthy of national monument status and still in need of protection.”

Michael Brune
Sierra Club Executive Director

"We are pleased that President Obama has recognized and protected these nationally-significant lands in Colorado.  The decision reflects broad support here for protecting Chimney Rock and other public lands as part of the outdoor heritage that is so important to our economy and our quality of life.”

Alan Apt
Sierra Club’s Rocky Mountain Chapter


“The Wilderness Society applauds the designation of Chimney Rock National Monument. Chimney Rock has been an important part of Colorado’s history for over a thousand years and now it will continue to be for generations to come.”

Jamie Williams
The Wilderness Society


"We strongly applaud President Obama's leadership in protecting Chimney Rock for future generations.  Recognizing and preserving a spectacular place that evokes Colorado's heritage of unique landscapes boosts local economies by driving tourism and recreation, which is why people all across Colorado support the decision to make Chimney Rock a National Monument.  President Obama recognizes that preserving America's natural treasures isn't just a moral imperative—it's an economic imperative as well."

Gene Karpinski
League of Conservation Voters
Pete Maysmith
Executive Director
Colorado Conservation Voters


"Tourism is an important driver of Colorado's economy. Protecting places like Chimney Rock protects this economic engine and ensures our outdoor industry can continue to grow."

Al White
State Tourism Director


"The League of Women Voters of Colorado supports the effort to designate Chimney Rock as a National Monument to protect this historic and fragile natural resource as an ongoing legacy for Colorado's citizens. As a chapter organization across the state, the chapter most closest to the area -- LWV Archuleta County -- has informed us that there is widespread local support, including county commissioners, for the designation. The expected economic benefit to Colorado and to the entire Chacoan area (CO, NM, AZ and UT), are the primary reasons why the LWV supports it."

Julie Leonard
Executive Director
League of Women Voters of Colorado


Small Business Owners:
"My small business depends on visitors to the outdoors. Chimney Rock National Monument gives people one more reason to visit, explore and enjoy our corner of the West."

Steve Potter
The Hub Bike Shop, Pagosa Springs, CO


"Chimney Rock deserves to be designated a National Monument for it's own sake.  In addition, protecting public lands helps to grow and maintain important outdoor industry jobs in Western Colorado, including the 8 people that my business employs."

Larry Fisher
Ski and Bow Rack
Pagosa Springs, CO

"A Chimney Rock National Monument will bring more tourism to our area. As visitors come to see this truly impressive cultural site, they will also invest in our economy and thereby help create local jobs by eating at local restaurants, drinking local beer,shopping at local stores, and staying at local hotels.  In tribute to the collective effort of achieving this National Monument status, we at Pagosa Brewing & Grill  have crafted a special "Chimney Rock  Ancestral Ale" that will incorporate many of the foods that the Ancestral Puebloans had available to them, including corn and cactus fruit."

Tony Simmons
President & Head Brewer
Pagosa Brewing Co. & Grill

"This designation and protection of Chimney Rock as the nation's newest National Monument is an appropriate recognition of the site's significance to our local history, community and economy.  The potential for the local economic impact of this designation is very encouraging." -- Mark Stauth, Owner,

Bear Creek Saloon
Pagosa Springs, CO



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Last modified March 29, 2013

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