By Ruth Lambert
San Juan Mountains Association
The Southwest is filled with remarkable cultural resources that span thousands of years of occupation in our area. From early sites related to nomadic people to 19th-century mining sites, our corner of the state has been home to numerous groups, and the remains of these people are all around us.
With the presence of these resources, southwestern residents have a history of expressing their concerns for the sites, and stewardship programs were established to monitor the conditions of archaeological sites.
Stewardship programs offer many benefits. Most of the programs monitor archaeological resources on public or tribal lands that are understaffed with few cultural resource professionals.
Stewardship programs provide a partnership opportunity to assist the governmental entity with eyes and ears to monitor the numerous resources, and these programs give the participants a role in helping preserve the cultural resources.
One long-standing stewardship program is the Colorado Cultural Site Stewardship Program directed by the San Juan Mountains association in partnership with federal partners at the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The program began in 2001 and has 85 active stewards who monitor about 100 sites across the southwestern corner of the state. The program has received several local, regional and state awards, including designation as a Preserve America Steward Program in 2008.
If you are interested in the cultural resources of the area and would like to find out more about the program, please contact us. The annual training for new site stewards will be conducted this month, and space is limited.
The stewards are a wonderful group of people who are making a difference in preserving the legacy of the area. We welcome other dedicated and committed people, and we hope to hear from you. If you are interested in becoming a steward or would like additional information, call 385-1267.
firstname.lastname@example.org Ruth Lambert is the cultural program director with the San Juan Mountains Association.