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Congressman Scott Tipton

Representing the 3rd District of Colorado

House Passes Tipton’s Bill to Elevate Chimney Rock to a National Monument

May 16, 2012
Press Release

May 16, 2012

House Passes Tipton’s Bill to Elevate Chimney Rock to a National Monument

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives, with unanimous consent, passed Congressman Scott Tipton’s (R-CO) legislation to establish a Chimney Rock National Monument. Attempts in the previous Congress to pass similar legislation failed in part due to calls for spending increases; Tipton’s bill does not increase direct spending to achieve the designation. The Chimney Rock National Monument Establishment Act (H.R. 2621) now goes to the Senate, where Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) has introduced a similar measure.

Prior to passage, Tipton spoke on the House floor in support of his bill:

“Chimney Rock is considered by the historic preservation community and the archeological community to be one of the most significant archeological sites in the Western United States.

“Centuries ago, hundreds of early Native Americans called the area home. Archeologists have uncovered ancient farming areas, homes and other structures indicating that this was a major cultural center for these early Americans. The ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians made the journey to this northernmost outpost of the Chacoan Civilization, to witness a rare lunar occurrence that they held to be sacred. Chimney Rock is one of only three such sites known to exist.

“Despite the scarcity of this gem, the Chimney Rock site of the San Juan National Forest has yet to receive a designation worthy of its historical and cultural significance. The area is currently under the management of the U.S. Forest Service, and is covered under the USFS Organic Act, which has no provision to address the preservation and management of such a historic and cultural significant site as Chimney Rock.

“H.R. 2621, the Chimney Rock National Monument Establishment Act, requires no additional federal funds, and therefore no increase in direct spending.

“ It ensures continued access to the area so that local ranchers will be able to utilize the lands they depend on for grazing, outdoorsman will be able to take advantage of the game opportunities in the area, and members of the Indian tribes will be able to continue to use Chimney Rock for traditional ceremonies. The bill also allows for continued archeological research and exploration of the area.

“In addition to preserving and protecting the site’s historical and cultural treasures, the national monument designation will give Chimney Rock the prestige and protection it deserves and elevate it to a status that will increase exposure to the region and generate tourism—creating a potential economic boost for the surrounding communities, generating needed jobs.

“Without any new direct spending, making Chimney Rock a national monument would create a win-win situation for this remarkable place, local communities, the state of Colorado, Native Indian tribes and future generations of visitors.”—Rep. Scott Tipton