The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument contains some of the highest densities of archaeological sites in North America, with pueblos from around 1200 A.D.

Courtesy of Bob Wick/BLM

Following months of review, and countless comments, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced Friday that southwest Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is no longer under consideration as part of President Trump’s executive order.

“​​Canyons of the Ancients​ ​is​ gorgeous land, but its monument status as the most high-density Native American archaeological sites in the Nation​ is clear,” Secretary Zinke said in a news release that included his recommendation that no changes be made. “The history at this site spans thousands of years, and the federal protection of these objects and history will help us preserve this site for a thousand more years.”

Colorado’s congressional delegation had lent their support to keeping Ancients as is. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton, of the 3rd congressional district, sent a letter to that effect. Both praised Zinke in the release, with Tipton’s statement saying that he was “encouraged to see the Secretary place a high value on local input throughout this process.”

Canyons of the Ancients sits alongside the Colorado-Utah border near Cortez in the southwest corner of the state. The 178,000 acres are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

What Other Colorado Leaders Are Saying

Sen. Michael Bennet-D: "Coloradans have made clear that they want public lands to remain public and protected. Secretary Zinke should recognize that our monuments belong to all Americans and abandon this useless review."

Gov. John Hickenlooper-D: "We’ve had great conversations with Sec. Zinke and we’re grateful that he respected the overwhelming consensus in Colorado on our national monument."