President Barack Obamas designation of Chimney Rock National Monument is an important step for our local economy. One study estimates that the resulting economic impact of tourism could double within the next few years.
But the benefits of this designation dont end with economics.
Protecting this culturally significant place preserves a key part of our Southwestern heritage. Thank you, President Obama, for heeding the concerns of our community and preserving our history for the future.
I recently read about Rep. Hastings of Washington criticizing the White House for this declaration, saying that this type of decision should be made by those most affected and their local elected leaders. This criticism is laughable.
Our local town government, our county commissioners, a Republican Congressman, two Democratic senators, both the Pagosa Springs and Durango chambers of commerce and 122 local businesses, including mine, supported this decision.
Our local brewery even created an original beer variety to commemorate the national monument.
This designation is a great move for our area and any attempts to politicize it should be immediately dismissed.