Feds To Review Colorado’s Canyons Of The Ancients

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Photo: Canyons of the Ancients National Monument 1 | Saddle Horn Ruin
The Saddle Horn Ruin is in a cliff alcove along Sand Canyon Trail in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument near Cortez, Colorado.

Canyons of the Ancients in southwestern Colorado will be among those reviewed by the Interior Department.

President Donald Trump wants the Interior Department to re-evaluate all National Monuments larger than 100,000 acres and designated after 1996. The review is aimed at the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law that allows presidents to unilaterally set aside federal land for protection.

Canyons of the Ancients was created in 2000 by President Clinton. It covers more than 175,000 acres along the Utah border, west of Cortez. The area is dense with archeological evidence of early Pueblo cliff dwellings, kivas and rock art.

Monument manager Marietta Eaton says the site holds an "incredible array of cultural resources," with about 100 archeological sites per square mile.

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A majority of those are undeveloped and require a long hike to see.

"It's a challenge," Eaton said. "You need to know what the potential issues are when you're going to visit."

Two other recent national monuments in Colorado – Brown’s Canyon and Chimney Rock – are too small to be included in the department’s review.