Legislative Purpose of Chaco Culture
Chaco Culture NHP was first proclaimed under the Antiquities Act as Chaco Canyon National Monument on March 11, 1907 for the purpose of preserving the significant archaeological features located in Chaco Canyon. The Presidential Proclamation (35 Stat. 2119, see Appendix A) states:
“…the extensive communal or pueblo ruins . . . are of extraordinary interest because of their number and their great size and because of the innumerable and valuable relics of a prehistoric people which they contain, and it appears that the public good would be promoted by preserving these prehistoric remains as a National Monument with as much land as may be necessary for the proper protection thereof.”
Over the decades, research and discoveries revealed that the prehistoric Chaco cultural system extended far beyond the national monument boundary. The need to protect this larger area was recognized. Accordingly, Congress passed Public Law 96-550 on December 19, 1980, changing the status from a national monument to a national historical park, enlarging the original monument boundary and mandating protection for selected Chaco sites on land administered by other public, tribal, and private entities. Under Public Law 96-550, Chaco Culture NHP and the Chaco Culture Archaeological Protection Sites Program were established for the purposes of:
Recognizing and preserving the unique archaeological resources found within Chaco Canyon and the Four Corners Region.
Advancing our knowledge of the prehistoric Chacoan culture and interpreting the archaeological resources and research results to the public.
Assisting the Navajo Nation, other State and Federal agencies, and private landowners in managing a system of 39 Chaco Protection Sites within the Four Corners Region and surrounding area.
Conserving the park’s scenery, its natural and historic objects, and its wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations.