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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Chimney Rock needs you: Join us in new era

By Nadia Werby | Chimney Rock Interpretive Association

After managing the seasonal operations at Chimney Rock National Monument (CRNM) for the past 18 years, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is embarking on a new era. 

As the Forest Service assumes responsibility for daily operations, we will focus our efforts on our specific mission: presenting excellent interpretive programs that engage guests with the ancient history and culture of this fascinating archaeological site. In anticipation of this change, we are addressing several crucial areas of operation, to ensure that CRIA will continue to be a viable nonprofit organization into the future.

Safe, secure and reliable Internet at the CRNM gift shop is the most pressing technology issue. We are installing a satellite system to serve our sales and communication needs and are exploring options for using software to streamline administrative duties. A CRIA app to further serve visitors is being considered.

The next major lunar standstill is approaching in its 18.6-year cycle, and our MLS planning committee is working hard. The best dates for viewing will be in the fall months starting in 2023. We are working closely with the Forest Service to provide the best viewing options. Stay tuned for more exciting information about this amazing event. 

With the loss of the daily tour income upon which CRIA has relied for the past 18 years, financial security is a central issue. We are working aggressively to diversify our income stream through grants, a membership/donor program, a signature Chimney Rock fundraising event and an endowment program. We are already expanding our special programs, daily activities and the new CRNM gift shop offerings, and are seeking a grant writer to assist in widening our grant opportunities. 

We began last year to reach out to our local Pagosa community to increase local interest in CRNM and CRIA. We will continue to develop relationships with businesses, school districts and other local organizations, and increase visibility through the press, social media and tourism outlets. 

All these steps toward the future depend on attracting and retaining volunteers. Our annual open house event is this coming Saturday, April 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Tennyson Event Center. This is your opportunity to meet some of our long-time volunteers and learn why they love working with CRIA. There are many different ways in which you can contribute to CRIA’s work and different levels of commitment. We hope you’ll join us on Saturday.

CRIA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at CRNM 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 (970) 731-7133.

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