By Lace Stevens
Special to The SUN
It’s that time of year again. Chimney Rock Interpretive Association — better known as CRIA — is looking for volunteers. What do volunteers do? Well, we have a variety of positions at Chimney Rock National Monument to choose from.
The cabin host meets and greets our visitors, as well as ringing up sales and giving out tour information. The mesa host meets and greets visitors at the upper parking lot — a scenic 3-mile drive from the Visitor Cabin. Once there, the mesa host gives out audio devices and brochures for tours, directs visitors to begin tours and answers questions.
Tour guides lead interpretive tours on the monument’s developed trails and draw that picture for the visitor of how the ancestral Puebloans lived here 1,000 years ago: how they developed this area — farming and hunting and building amazing structures that align with the skies and still stand today for us to observe and wonder. Then there’s the maintenance team that helps with trail upkeep, minor repairs, even special projects.
But that’s not all. CRIA is excited to announce half a dozen new programs for 2020 and Chimney Rock also hosts monthly archaeoastronomy programs such as “Full Moon” — when you can literally light the trail for our visitors’ night sky experience. “Life at Chimney Rock” is a free family-oriented weekend with activities for all. “Summer Solstice” and “Autumnal Equinox” are just two more special programs for you to enjoy and assist our visitors. And those visitors come from near and far, and how delightful it is to spend some time with them and share what you know about this very special place. In turn, it’s a special treat to hear all about the wonderful places that our visitors come from.
So, as you see, Chimney Rock National Monument has many varied and gratifying activities for our volunteers. We ask that you consider joining us this 2020 season, be it that you are new to the area, an old-timer who’s considered us but just not taken that first step or a volunteer retired from our ranks who is ready to get back to “The Rock.” We open May 15 and close Sept. 30. We are looking forward to seeing you.
To help community members learn about the exciting volunteer opportunities at Chimney Rock National Monument, CRIA volunteers will host an open house at the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library on Feb. 20 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Please stop by and enjoy desserts and conversation with our enthusiastic volunteers.
CRIA offers a great in-depth training program in a fun environment to anyone interested in joining our amazing team of volunteers. This year, volunteer training will take place on April 24 and 25 at Chimney Rock National Monument and the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Event Center at 197 Navajo Trail Drive.
CRIA is a nonprofit organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest. For more information, see the CRIA website at www.chimneyrockco.org or call 731-7133.
By Lace Stevens