By Shanna Robb
Chimney Rock Interpretive Association
When I moved to Pagosa Springs in late 2019, I knew that I wanted to volunteer at Chimney Rock. Even though 2020 was a year of unknowns due to the coronavirus, it didn’t stop me from volunteering or guests from visiting. Many guests had lived in the Four Corners area for years and had never been to the monument. It was not uncommon for guests to express that Chimney Rock was truly a hidden gem.
Every time I was on site, I was honored to be interpreting the lives of the ancient Puebloans that had once called Chimney Rock home. I felt a personal responsibility to connect the people of the past and the people of the present. The response from guests was overwhelmingly positive and the effect it had on me was immeasurable.
Chimney Rock is a place you need to experience to truly appreciate and being a volunteer is the best way to preserve the history and beauty of the area that we now call home. Once you learn the significance of Chimney Rock, it is impossible to drive by the area without thinking of the ancient Puebloans.
To help community members learn about the exciting volunteer opportunities at Chimney Rock National Monument, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) will host an open house on Friday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Tennyson Event Center located at 197 Navajo Trail Drive. A host of CRIA volunteers will be on hand, eager to introduce guests to the variety of roles that support this unique program and the flexibility in level of commitment. Some of the volunteer positions include: visitor cabin host, mesa host, roving interpreter and maintenance crew.
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 the morning of April 24 at the Tennyson Event Center with a trip to Chimney Rock National Monument in the afternoon. We are very excited for the upcoming season starting May 15 and want to encourage the community to join us.
CRIA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) 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.