Local Appreciation Days, Night Sky program at Chimney Rock

Local Appreciation Days at Chimney Rock Archaeological Area will take place Memorial Day weekend, May 22-25.

The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, Pagosa Ranger District, invites all area residents to visit Chimney Rock, and be appreciated.

Enjoy half-price guided tours at 9:30 and10:30 a.m., 1 and 2 p.m. The guided walking tours average about 2-2.5 hours long. Discounted prices are: adults $5; children 5-11, $2.50; under 5 is always free.

Night Sky program

Once again, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) will offer a monthly summer Night Sky program for locals and tourists, with the first session Friday, May 22. The gates open at 6:15 p.m., the program starts at the cabin at 7:15, and night sky viewing will start at the upper parking lot from 8:45 until 10:15.

This entertaining, educational program, which includes a one-hour astronomy lecture at the cabin, provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the visible celestial objects. Following a lecture on naked-eye astronomy of the Ancestral Puebloans, and the solar system and universe, participants will drive to the upper parking lot of the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area for approximately 1.5 hours of night-sky viewing.

These programs have been enabled through grants from LPEA’s Educational Fund and The Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado, both based in Durango.

The grants have funded the purchase of two Meade 10-inch Dobsonian telescopes, complete with special eyepieces for viewing the planets and stars. CRIA volunteers will man the telescopes to assist people in viewing the heavens each night. These two telescopes, plus two more provided by volunteers, will allow everyone to have several turns viewing night sky objects.

Participants are advised to come prepared with binoculars, water (also for sale at the cabin), flashlights and coats.

This year, for the first time, the program will be repeated on the following night each month, but will be especially designed for children. Kids of all ages are invited. So mark your calendars for May 23 for the Night Sky for Kids program. Times will be the same as the program on May 22.

The upper parking area is paved and wheelchair accessible, with restroom facilities. Reservations are suggested, as space is limited. Tickets can also be purchased at the Visitor Cabin prior to the programs: $10 adults and $5 for children 11 years and younger; special Local Appreciation rate is $5 local adults, and $2.50 local children (under 12). To get the local rate, you must have an ID indicating you live within a 60 mile radius of the site.

For reservations, call the visitor cabin (after May 15 ) at 883-5359, from 9 to 4:30 p.m. daily, or the CRIA office (before May 15) at (970) 264-2287, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit the Website at www.chimneyrockco.org.


Photo courtesy CRIA
The scopes are ready and the first Night Sky program for locals and tourists is set for Friday, May 22. The gates open at 6:15 p.m., the program starts at the cabin at 7:15, and night sky viewing will start at the upper parking lot from 8:45 until 10:15.