By Allison Sherry
Chimney Rock is in the San Juan National Forest, surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.
The land will be managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service, and White House officials said they will work with the tribes in the area. Ranchers will maintain grazing rights.
The site is deeply spiritual to the Puebloan people and other tribes. Ancestors used the rock to see "lunar standstills"—a phenomenon that happens every 18.6 years, when the moon rises exactly between the two stone pillars of Chimney Rock.
By Mark Memmott
The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association says the site "was home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians 1,000 years ago and is of great spiritual significance to these tribes. Their ancestors built over 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor, probably to be near the sacred twin rock pinnacles."
According to The Durango Herald, the designation will safeguard "the ruins of a thousand-year-old great house connected to the Chaco Culture of present-day New Mexico" as well as the two spires.