Today President Barack Obama will preserve 4,726 acres of in southwestern Colorado by officially naming Chimney Rock a national monument. The site is located in the San Juan National Forest east of Durango. The beautiful chimney shaped rock is surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and is one of the most significant Colorado spiritual sites for the Pueblo and other tribes. The native ancestors used the rock to see "lunar standstills" which is when the moon rises exactly between the stone pillars, like clockwork for a 30-month period. The phenomenon only happens every 18.6 years.This article was originally published in blog:
Photo by Malcolm
Anthropologists believe the area was inhabited by Hopi, Zuni and Acoma tribes dating back to A.D. 850. There are remains of a 35-room Great House made of stone. The site was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. The new designation will forever preserve the historical sites and will make it easier for people to visit the area.
The move was driven by local support and had both Republican and Democrat support in Washington. Sen. Michael Bennet, D- Colo. said, "Making Chimney Rock a national monument will be an extraordinary boost for the region by preserving and protecting the site and driving tourism".