By an Act of Congress, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 29, 1906, certain tracts of land in southwestern Colorado were set apart as a public reservation known as Mesa Verde National Park. This land, inhabited by Ancestral Puebloans from approximately A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300, included the most complete and extensive concentration of prehistoric cliff dwellings in the United States. The park was charged with the preservation of the archeological sites and other works and relics of prehistoric inhabitants within its boundaries. Today, with over 52,000 acres, Mesa Verde National Park preserves and protects over 4,000 archeological sites, which includes 600 cliff dwellings, and over 3 million associated objects in the park’s research collection. The archeological sites found here, are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.
The mission of Mesa Verde National Park is rooted in and grows from the park’s legislated mandate from 1906 -- its purpose for being. Other laws and Presidential Executive Orders have further clarified the park’s purpose and mission. This mission includes:
The Park Studies Unit at the University of Idaho conducts research to better understand the experiences, opinions, and needs of those who use and those who manage public lands. View the following reports for Mesa Verde National Park.
Did You Know?
Contrary to popular belief, the Ancestral Puebloan people of Mesa Verde did not disappear. They migrated south to New Mexico and Arizona, and became today’s modern pueblo people.