Today, President Obama designated spectacular Chimney Rock in southwest Colorado as our nation’s newest national monument, an historic step honoring a place rich in beauty, history and Native American culture.
With the strong support of the people of Colorado, from the congressional delegation to Governor Hickenlooper to the Native American community and local residents, President Obama has ensured this extraordinary national treasure will be protected for generations to come.
A thousand years ago, Chimney Rock was home to Ancestral Pueblo People who built more than 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor. Many of the structures remain today, and are designed to perfectly align with lunar events such as seasonal solstices and equinoxes, drawing visitors from across the world.
Beyond protecting this special place, this designation also ensures Chimney Rock will be a source of economic opportunity in Colorado, attracting new business and tourism. According to a study commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the national monument designation is expected to double economic activity from tourism in the area over the next five years. Outdoor places like Chimney Rock provide us with opportunities for rest and respite, with a link to our Nation’s proud outdoor traditions and culture, and with jobs and economic opportunities across the country. In fact, outdoor recreation alone contributes an estimated $650 billion a year to our economy, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.