The Journal will post coverage of the celebration at Chimney Rock this afternoon.
President Barack Obama will designate Chimney Rock as a national monument Friday in a move that will help preserve the ruin site in southwestern Colorado.
Celebrate Chimney Rock National Monument
PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo., September 19, 2012 – President Barack Obama is expected to sign a Presidential Proclamation designating Chimney Rock a national monument on Friday. Join members of the President’s cabinet, the Colorado Congressional Delegation, U.S. Forest Service representatives, tribal leaders and others for a community celebration at the Chimney Rock Visitor’s Center on Friday, September 21.
When: Friday, September 21, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Chimney Rock Visitor’s Center, 3 miles south of Highway 160 on Highway 151
Between Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colorado
Who: Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Ken Salazar, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
Nancy Sutley, Chairperson, The White House Council on Environmental Quality
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (not confirmed)
U.S. Representative Scott Tipton (not confirmed)
Chandler Sanchez, Chairman, All Indian Pueblo Council
Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service
Other local community and tribal leaders
What: Recognizing Chimney Rock’s cultural, geologic, archaeological and prehistoric
Meet in the parking lot of the Visitor’s Center where participants will gather to hear brief remarks from speakers, participate in celebratory reception and be able to tour the site with members of the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association.
Designated an Archaeological Area and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, Chimney Rock lies on 4,100 acres of San Juan National Forest land surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The site was home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians 1,000 years ago and is of great spiritual significance to these tribes. Their ancestors built over 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor, probably to be near the sacred twin rock pinnacles. Since the 1960′s, Dr. Frank Eddy of the University of Colorado and others have studied the site, and research continues.
A National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks. However, areas within and extending beyond national parks, monuments, and national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting.
National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or Bureau of Land Management.
The power to grant national monuments comes from the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt used the act to declare Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first national monument. He thought Congress was moving too slowly and it would be ruined by the time they made it a national park.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 resulted from concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Native American ruins and artifacts (collectively termed “antiquities”) on federal lands in the West. The Act authorized permits for legitimate archaeological investigations and penalties for persons taking or destroying antiquities without permission. The Act also authorized presidents to proclaim “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” as national monuments, “the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”