Officials ask feds: Leave Ancients park alone
Two Colorado Republicans want President Donald Trump to leave the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado alone as the administration examines other monuments.
Canyons of the Ancients is an example of what the 1906 Antiquities Act was intended to do, “protect cultural treasures while incorporating the historic use of the land in the management of the monument so that communities support and promote the designation,” Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton wrote to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Zinke is examining the monument designations of the Canyons of the Ancients and Grand Staircase-Escalante by President Bill Clinton and Bears Ears by President Barack Obama.
Canyons of the Ancients, which is 275 square miles, encompasses more than 6,000 recorded archaeological sites and it contains as many as 30,000 more undocumented sites within its boundaries.
“The archaeological record etched into this landscape is much more than an isolated island of architecture,” the BLM said, noting that the area includes villages, field houses, check dams, reservoirs, great kivas, cliff dwellings, shrines, sacred springs, agricultural fields, petroglyphs and sweat lodges that show human habitation for 10,000 years, including the ancestral Puebloan culture.
Canyons of the Ancients also is an example of the consequences for which local areas are often unprepared, such as unanticipated increases in tourism and diversion of federal agencies from roles such as energy development to maintaining a monument, Tipton and Gardner wrote.
“Fortunately, Montezuma County, Colorado, where Canyons is located, has forged ahead with BLM to make progress on many of these issues,” the legislators wrote, urging Zinke to leave the designation as it stands.