New tour offered at Chimney Rock National Monument

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By Nadia Werby
Chimney Rock Interpretative Association

How can there be anything new at a place that is over a thousand years old? Well, Chimney Rock Interpretative Association (CRIA), in conjunction with the San Juan National Forest, is presenting a new tour this year. 

The tour travels up to the two pinnacles and examines the variety of flora observable on the way up to the top. Over 26 different plants — all useful to the ancient people who lived there — are available in the short 1/3 of a mile hike. Each plant is examined for its usefulness to the various tribes whose ancestors called Chimney Rock home. 

These plants were used as food, as medicine and to make useful items around their homes such as tools, rope, clothing and baskets. For example, did you know that the mountain mahogany bush was used to stuff mattresses as prevention against bedbugs? This bush, plus many other plants, are on the trail. 

The Flora of Chimney Rock Tour is being offered on Aug. 6. To register for this special program, please visit www.chimneyrockco.org or call (877) 444-6777. A booking fee applies to each ticket purchased online or through the call center. Purchasing your tickets in advance is the only way to guarantee a spot for this program, but we will accommodate walk-ins if space is available. 

Chimney Rock National Monument is located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 3 miles south on Colo. 151. CRIA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive programs at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest. For more information about CRIA, as well as how to volunteer for this organization, go to our website, www.chimneyrockco.org, or call us at 731-7133.