March 10, 2010

New Four Corners monument

Four Corners redone to include 'more visitor-friendly' upgrade

By Alysa LandryUsing $700,000 in money earmarked by Congress in 1998, Weeminuche Construction Authority, owned by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, pulled the heavy granite monument from its perch last month.

Blueprints call for a $2.4 million renovation of the monument, which is expected to include an interpretation center, indoor plumbing and other upgrades, said Martin Begaye, parks manager for Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.
And:Construction crews demolished the old monument Feb. 1, dragging the heavy granite marker off-site. In its place is a giant dirt bowl, the beginning stages of the new monument.

"Visitors will still be able to see the location where the four states meet," Begaye said. "They can still stand on that marker. But the monument will be a giant bowl, so you can look down at where they meet."
Comment:  I'm not sure about this new monument. The old monument was a raised platform. The new one is a sunken bowl. How is that an improvement?

One of the site's joys--perhaps its main joy--is having your picture taken at the "four corners." With the old monument, you could see friends, flags, or the landscape in the background. Now every shot will show people standing at the bottom of an oval shape. Little of the land or sky will be visible.

On the other hand, the present monument isn't ideal. It's cluttered with railings and posts, and the typical background consists of strangers and their cars. Maybe a bowl would be an improvement after all.

But there's no question that upgrading the facilities would be good. When I was there in 2007, my then-girlfriend reported that the bathrooms were atrocious. I didn't go near them, but it sounded as if they were nothing but glorified outhouses.

She was shocked that a tourist destination would be so primitive. I reminded her that the Navajo Nation was a poverty-stricken place with no gaming revenues. Spending a couple million dollars to placate visitors probably wasn't a high priority.

For more on the subject, see Four Corners in Wrong Location and Colorado Trip Pix (Day 8).

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