WASHINGTON A multifaceted approach to make Chimney Rock a national monument, cleared a committee hearing Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, introduced his legislation last year. It went before the Natural Resources Committee and passed the markup process with a unanimous vote. The next step for the bill is to be presented to the House floor.
This is one of many attempts to make Chimney Rock a national monument. On Friday, a letter was sent to President Obama from U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, and Tipton urging him to use his executive authority to make Chimney Rock a monument. Leaders from Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs also sent Obama letters asking for his support. The president has the executive power to declare a land a national monument stemming from an act from 1906.
Tipton said he hopes the bill can make it to the House floor within the next month, but it is dependent on the speakers schedule. On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Committee heard 13 pieces of community-based legislation and passed them overwhelmingly.
If we can get a unanimous vote from the House of Representatives, itll make things easier for our senators, said Tipton.
Bennet and Udall nominated Chimney Rock to be a national monument in 2010.
The historic preservation community and the archaeological community consider Chimney Rock to be one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Western United States, and yet many Coloradans may have never heard of this historic treasure right here in our own backyard, Tipton said in a statement.
Chimney Rock is identified by its two twin spires. The 4,700-acre area was designated an archaeological area and national historical site in 1970. It is surrounded by Southern Ute Indian Tribe land and was home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians. It holds great spiritual significance in the area; every 18.6 years a moon rises between the twin spires for a celebration called the Major Lunar Standstill.
Kelcie Pegher is an intern for The Durango Herald and a student at American University in Washington, D.C. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.