The Wilderness Society today applauded President Obama and members of the Colorado congressional delegation on permanently protecting Chimney Rock as a national monument. By using the Antiquities Act, President Obama protected an archeological and natural wonder within the San Juan National Forest.
Native Americans, local business owners, elected officials, archeologists and conservationists have built a groundswell of support for the designation of Chimney Rock as a national monument. The designation is supported by the Colorado delegation, including Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mark Udall (D-CO) and Congressman Scott Tipton (R, CO-3).
“The Wilderness Society applauds President Obama’s leadership in protecting Chimney Rock National Monument,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. "Chimney Rock has been a part of our history for over a thousand years and now, thanks to President Obama, it will continue to be for generations to come.”
The history of Chimney Rock can be traced back to 925 C.E. when the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians built an architecturally significant village and lived there until 1125. Little known outside the region, people from across the United States will come here to view the remnants of a scientifically advanced civilization, and the national forest land surrounding the 4,700-acre archaeological area. A recent economic study by BBC Research and Consulting found that protecting Chimney Rock as a national monument will double the economic benefits to the region within five years.
Chimney Rock is a tourism haven, attracting archeology enthusiasts for its still-intact structures. Hikers and nature lovers come to hike the ruins and surrounding San Juan National Forest. It remains a sacred place for today’s Pueblo tribes, due to its cultural significance.
The designation will protect Chimney Rock as part of America’s natural and historical culture and marks the President Obama’s third use of the Antiquities Act. The Antiquities Act has been used to designate and protect national monuments by 16 presidents -- both Republican and Democratic -- since it was enacted by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. All of the presidents who used the Antiquities Act have had the foresight to employ this bipartisan tool to protect some of our nation’s most treasured natural and cultural wonders, like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree.
The Wilderness Society looks forward to seeing Congress and the President continue to protect America’s natural heritage.