Bennet, Udall: Economic Study Makes Case for Chimney Rock Designation

A new report released today determines that national monument designation for the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area would double the economic impact Chimney Rock has on the region, bringing an additional $1.2 million to the area. The study was commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“The local community overwhelmingly supports the designation of Chimney Rock as a national monument,” Bennet said.  “With political gridlock slowing the pace of Congress, I have urged the president to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Chimney Rock a national monument.  Today’s study makes clear that a monument designation would be a boost for Colorado’s tourism at a critical time, drawing more visitors to the region and the state and bringing more dollars into the local economy.”

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s report underlines that making the Chimney Rock Archaeological site a national monument would create jobs and provide an economic boost for southwest Colorado,” Udall said. “In April, I joined Senator Bennet and Congressman Tipton in asking President Barack Obama to protect Chimney Rock as a national monument and had a chance to visit the area in May. I hope the results of this study pave the way for national monument designation, so tourists will have yet another reason to visit the beautiful state of Colorado.”

Bennet has introduced a bill in the Senate, cosponsored by Udall, to establish Chimney Rock as a national monument. Representative Scott Tipton introduced a similar bill that passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.  Last Congress, the Senate bill was passed out of committee in a bipartisan vote.  It’s passage was subsequently blocked on the Senate floor by a minority of senators. 

In April, Bennet, Udall and Tipton sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to begin a dialogue with the local community to explore all options to give the Chimney Rock archeological site the recognition and protection it deserves, including presidential declaration. The Antiquities Act of 1906 grants the president the authority to proclaim, by executive order, sites of historical significance as national monuments, garnering protection.

Chimney Rock, located on San Juan National Forest land west of Pagosa Springs in southwest Colorado’s Archuleta County, is recognized as perhaps the most significant historical site managed by the entire U.S. Forest Service.