Press Release Jun 2, 2023

Victory: Biden Administration Protects Chaco Canyon Cultural Landscape

"We are grateful for today’s action, which is the latest move by the Biden administration that prioritizes preserving, instead of industrializing, Indigenous lands," -- NPCA CEO Theresa Pierno 

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration today secured a 20-year mineral withdrawal for a 10-mile protection zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park. This action will safeguard the vast cultural region known for its intact architecture, dwellings, and kivas, which extends far beyond the park boundaries. Today’s action sets a new course for Tribal and local communities, and the landscape’s resources and scared sites.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park protects around 33,000 acres in the area, but the magic of Chaco is spread out beyond that. Data reflects that as many as 5,000 sacred Chacoan cultural and historical sites lay outside of the protective shield of the park.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association

“Protecting Indigenous lands is important for future generations to understand our country and to respect the Pueblos’ sacred culture. We are grateful for today’s action, which is the latest move by the Biden administration that prioritizes preserving, instead of industrializing, Indigenous lands. We strongly support and encourage continued actions by this administration, which also restored protections for Bears Ears and recently established Avi Kwa Ame National Monument.

“There are limits to this administrative protection, as 20 years is significant but also the equivalent of an eye blink on this timeless landscape. The National Parks Conservation Association calls on Congress to finish the job and approve legislation championed by the entire New Mexico delegation to permanently protect the region.”

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About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. www.npca.org

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