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Today's designation of Chimney Rock National Monument by President Obama not only adds to our country's conservation legacy but also serves as a perfect example of why the Antiquities Act is so important. The Act was passed by Congress in 1906 to allow the president to ensure "...the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest."

Chimney Rock fits the bill perfectly. The area contains stunning remains of ceremonial and other archaeological sites from the ancient Pueblo culture that thrived in the Southwest for hundreds of years. The twin rock spires that lend Chimney Rock its name are as inspiring today as they were 1,000 years ago -- every 18.6 years they perfectly frame the moon during what's known as the northern lunar standstill (the last one was in 2006).

But despite its cultural significance, Chimney Rock lacked any protective designation to provide permanent support for and protection of its sites and resources -- until now. Along with protecting the site, the designation is expected to increase heritage tourism in the region, adding to the 9,000 visitors who already come to experience Chimney Rock each year. A recent economic study showed that this national monument designation will double the economic benefits to the region within five years.

While Chimney Rock is unique, its story is not. A number of other studies by Headwaters Economics have documented post-designation job and personal income growth in communities near new national monuments. Across the country, protected public lands draw millions of visitors each year and are vital to our nation's $646 billion outdoor recreation economy, which supports over 6 million jobs.

As with the designation of Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia and Fort Ord National Monument in California, this new designation will benefit Americans now and for generations to come.

Originally posted to Michael Brune on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 09:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by National Parks and Wildlife Refuges and Public Lands.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Beautiful area (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here's a link to the Chimney Rock website.

    Q: Beach or mountains? A: Whichever has a hammock, a good bock, and no mosquitoes.

    by lincoln925 on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 09:57:01 AM PDT

  •  I am tired of this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, Woody

    meaning these endless designations of national monuments as presidential legacies.  My complaint is that the designation disallows many "consumptive" uses.  The expansion, and designation of, Death Valley as a national monument made Bill Clinton look like a munificent ruler.  On the ground, lots of people, including minorities, were barred from hunting areas they had been going to for a couple of generations.  All the land was well-protected before Bill's big gesture.

    •  Not worried about hunters (0+ / 0-)

      I'm worried about others who use of the lands would leave them permanently damaged, like mining, waste disposal, roadways, even residential development. That's why I support a large system of National Parks and Monuments.

      •  Often National Parks change a place as much (0+ / 0-)

        as residential development and more than extractive industries. The roads and multi million dollar concessions (hotels and restaurants galore) as well as the millions of drive by tourists not only forever change the place itself but are a huge source of carbon damaging to the world we are supposed to be protecting. Until they make mass transit to National Parks mandatory I'd rather see them close the gates.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 11:56:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was just down in this area, and though Chimney (0+ / 0-)

    rock is for sure a landmark it's a lot less impressive as a formation. It signals the eastern approach of route 151 to Navajo Reservoir and Ignacio and all that. Is'n't there a casino?

    If I had to pick one tower above all the rest as a total "wow" type formation it would be the Totem Pole which is in Monument Valley and I think the Navajo Reservation.

    Often monument status has been a work around way of protecting a place while waiting for congress to get it together.

    Of much much greater significance this week in Colorado is the designation of the Sangre De Cristo Refuge Area. A 170,000 acre easement gift to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Unlike monument status Refuges are hunted on like they have been continuously for 15, 000 years.
    Chimney Rock

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 11:51:36 AM PDT

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