Announcement Comes on Heels of Bennet-Led Letter to President Urging Him to Begin Dialogue with Community on National Monument Designation
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today released the following statement regarding the Administration’s announcement that it will to hold a public meeting in Pagosa Springs May 11 to explore the possibility of declaring Chimney Rock a national monument. This announcement comes on the heels of a Bennet-led letter asking President Obama to begin a dialogue with the community about using the Antiquities Act to give Chimney Rock the recognition and protection it deserves by making it a national monument.
“I am glad to see the Administration respond to the call from southwest Coloradans who would like to see Chimney Rock receive the recognition it deserves. Whether through the legislative process or administrative action, any move to designate National Monument status should begin with a public process, and this meeting is an important first step. Chimney Rock has incredible historical and cultural significance, yet it lacks a designation and level of protection equal to its stature. National monument designation would also help drive tourism, economic development and job creation throughout the region.”
Chimney Rock is located West of Pagosa Springs in southwest Colorado’s Archuleta County. The 4,700-acre site located on San Juan National Forest land is recognized as perhaps the most significant historical site managed by the entire U.S. Forest Service.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 grants the President the authority to proclaim, by executive order, sites of historical significance as national monuments, garnering protection.
Bennet has introduced a bill in the Senate, cosponsored by Senator Mark Udall, to establish Chimney Rock as a national monument. Representative Scott Tipton has introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives. Both bills have received committee hearings. Last Congress, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed Bennet’s bill with broad bipartisan support. Last week, Tipton’s bill passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee with broad bipartisan support.