Chimney Rock

Chimney RockUPDATE

Bennet Praises Decision to Designate Chimney Rock a National Monument

President Obama To Make Designation under Antiquities Act

Washington, DC – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today praised the decision by President Obama to designate Chimney Rock as a national monument. The president will use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make the designation.

"Chimney Rock contains the rare combination of a spectacular geologic formation with extraordinary cultural, historical and archeological significance. Coloradans have made it clear that those attributes should be matched with national monument status. It will be an extraordinary boost for the region and the state. For the last three years we’ve been making that case to Congress and more recently we've been urging the Administration to use its authority under the Antiquities Act," Bennet said. "The President's establishment of Chimney Rock National Monument will preserve and protect the site and drive tourism, drawing more visitors to the region and the state and bringing more dollars into the local economy."

Bennet has led efforts in the Senate to designate Chimney Rock a national monument. He has worked closely with local leaders, members of the Colorado congressional delegation and the administration to advance efforts. In 2010, he first introduced a bill in the Senate, cosponsored by Senator Mark Udall, to establish national monument status. Last Congress, the bill passed out of committee and was subsequently blocked on the Senate floor by a minority of senators. Representative Scott Tipton introduced a similar bill that passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

Read the full release here:

About Chimney Rock

Nearly 15,000 visitors travel to Chimney Rock every season to hike camp, and take advantage of the beautiful scenery. And while comparable areas across the United States have been designated as national monuments, Chimney Rock has not.

National monument status would preserve the site for future generations and raise the landmark's profile, boosting tourism and economic development across southwest Colorado.

Please use this page to share your thoughts about national monument designation, submit your stories about a recent trip to Chimney Rock, or tell us why the area matters to you.


Michael Bennet
U.S. Senator

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Chimney Rock Stories from Others

I support national monument designation for Chimney Rock, and thank Senator Bennet for pushing legislation to achieve this goal. However, given the state of the current Congress, I support President Obama acting now to designate the monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act. Chimney Rock is a treasure of Southwest Colorado and a remarkable cultural and historical resource of national significance. National monument designation will provide much needed permanent protection and dedicated management of the resources there while bringing attention to the area, boosting tourism and helping the local economy. This cannot wait.

Matthew Griffis
Durango, CO

I support making Chimney Rock a national Monument if the action will truly protect it and surrounding areas from development.

Curtis English
Crestone, CO

I have been to Chimney Rock and thought it was a wonderful part of history of the southwest. The narrator told the story how the different Indian ruins are connected. It told how they think smoke signals were sent from Chimney Rock to the other areas. It should definately be preserved for future generations to visit. I have told many friends about it who have also gone there. It is a marvel of early cultures.

Kathi Jennings
Louisville, CO

I am a Preservationist with the National Park Service. I work at Mesa Verde, and my crew has worked on preserving the site for a number of years. I do think it is a must to give it Monument status.

Neill Smith
Cortez, CO

I have been to Chimney Rock many times as a tourist and as a researcher, and the place never ceases to inspire. It is a priceless outdoor exhibition of the intricate astronomical knowledge of the first Americans, and a monument to human powers ofobservation and abstraction that should inspire us all to seek out and discover new patterns in our world and put them to practical use for the benefit of all. Chimney Rock represents one of the great astronomical observatories ever created by humankind, in the same league as Newgrange in Ireland, Stonehenge in England, Chichen Itza in Mexico, and Macchu Pichu in Peru. It should have been made a National Monument long ago, and deserves to be designated a World Heritage Site, as all these other places have been.

Scott Ortman
Cortez, CO

What a great idea! I have visited Chimney Rock. It is a beautiful place and part of the Southwest area where ancient peoples did astronomy. As an astronomer, I was deeply moved to visit there and to see how the peoples used the position of the sun to determine their seasons.

Jonathan Ormes
Parker, CO

I visited Chimney Rock in the early 90s with my parents who were living Pagosa Springs. We had earlier seen Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Bandelier and other similar sites. We had a tou rand learned much. Chimney Rock was equally fascinating to the better known sites although on a smaller scale. It is very much worth preserving and if it becomes a National Monument it will certainly help the local economy.

Randall Siebert
Lafayette, CO

Chimney Rock is a sacred site for he Navajos, and probably also for the ancestral Pueblans, and who knows before. Lots of history, as well as being beautiful and interesting. Yes, it should be a national Monument.

Jeanie Bein
Colorado Springs, CO

I always look forward to seeing chimney rock on my way to the four corners to visit my parents in NM. You see it, and you know you are almost there. There is a little turn-out just as you leave 160. It is a traditional stopping spot to just get that last stretch and to enjoy the scenery. I have fond memories of hanging out and playing frisbee with my son there.

Jon Hutchison
Nederland, CO

My wife and I hiked Chimney Rock in the late 1990s as a side trip. We saw dense and well-preserved relics of ancient occupation. The small size of the main archaeological site is itself impressive. We have seen far larger sites in the Four Corners region but have seen no other site with so many residences and structures so tightly packed. Even today, there is little vegetation, few trees and no collectable firewood near these structures. It was chilly when we visited and the structures are exposed well above the valley floor. One can imagine how the occupants felt on a windy night without a fire. They must have had a profound spiritual motive for being there.

Robert Cruder
Elizabeth, CO

This is a place of unique and breathtaking scenery, part of what makes America such a beautiful and peaceful place to live. As such, this Colorado panorama should be preserved for all time for future generations as well as current ones. To risk losing such a sight to possible digging, building or other methods of ruining it would be a travesty. It's the kind of sight that remains in your mind's eye and heart forever, once you have seen it.

D. Furman
Denver, CO

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