12:29pm

Fri September 21, 2012
Arts & Culture

Chimney Rock Becomes National Monument

President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation creating a national monument at Chimney Rock. The dramatic rock formation in southwestern Colorado is on a site that was home to the ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians a thousand years ago.

It’s also the site of a spectacular moonrise between the twin rock spires every 18 and a half years.

Al White, director of the Colorado Department of Tourism, told Colorado News Connection that this new designation is good news for the state.

“Anything that’s going to help raise the profile of Colorado is going help bring more tourists. And tourists spend money.”

The proclamation signed Friday preserves nearly 5,000 acres of high desert at Chimney Rock, which holds spiritual significance for some tribes. It bars sale or lease of land by current property owners while protecting existing property rights.

President Obama called the monument a national treasure with deep cultural and educational value.  The move has bipartisan support and comes as Obama is locked in a tight race with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the swing state.

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