Chaco Culture National Historic Park, a major center of ceremony and trade for the prehistoric Four Corners areas, is one of the most spectacular areas in New Mexico. Its combination of natural beauty and cultural significance justifies its World Heritage Site status. However, developments continue to threaten this jewel of New Mexican heritage.
Oil and gas drilling on state lands within view of the Park’s Visitor Center continues to be a significant threat. In addition, development threatens Chacoan ruins to the north on Bureau of Land Management lands. These lands are part of a connective corridor to the Bisti / De-Na-Zin Wilderness through the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area. It is also clear that oil field dust, air pollutants and noise will reduce visibility while also threatening the health of people living downwind from the development.
Widespread publicity pressured Cimarex Energy to delay any immediate plans for developing leases visible from the Park’s Visitor Center. The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild), working on behalf of our members and people around the world, has met with the State Land Office and other agencies to forestall development.
In other recent developments, a carefully crafted agreement between San Juan County, the Navajo Tribe and the Park that addressed partial paving and management of the dirt road that leads to the Park has fallen through.
NM Wild continues to work on protection for Chaco NHP. Introduction of congressional legislation is vital to accomplish:
- Designation of approximately 20,000 acres of Wilderness.
- Transfer adjacent state lands into the Park. This requires trading BLM lands elsewhere to the State Land Office and adjusting the boundary of the park.
- Revision of the boundary of the Pueblo Pintado Outlier to include the large ruin and other significant sites and transfer of jurisdiction to the Park.
Please help us protect Chaco Canyon by giving online now. Your donation will help us continue the fight to protect Chaco Canyon’s cultural and historic heritage.