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Contact: Steve Riley, 505-536-9461
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Superintendent Steve Riley invites the public to celebrate the centennial of the Antiquities Act and the upcoming centennial of the Gila Cliff Dwellings at the Gila Visitor Center this November. A special exhibit titled The Secret Behind the Parks of Enchantment has been traveling around the state and will arrive at the Gila Visitor Center in the second week of November and will remain until the end of the month. This exhibit, which celebrates the 2006 Centennial of the Antiquities Act, arrives at the Gila Visitor Center just in time for another important anniversary—the 99th Birthday of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
In 1906, Congress passed legislation that provides protection for historic and prehistoric “antiquities” on federal lands and grants the president authority to set aside areas of natural or cultural interest as national monuments. Theodore Roosevelt used the authority granted to him by the Antiquities Act to set aside eighteen different national monuments across the country, one of them a “group of cliff-dwellings known as the Gila Hot Springs Cliff-Houses.” On November 16, 1907, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument was proclaimed, and since then the stories surrounding the Cliff Dwellings have been protected.
However, as David Quammen wrote in the October 2006 issue of National Geographic, “Our national parks are as good, only as good, as the intensity with which we treasure them.” As the year 2007 quickly approaches, it is time for the stories of the Gila Cliff Dwellings to be treasured and celebrated in a grand way. The theme for the 2007 Centennial of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument will be Celebrating a Century of Storytelling. The community is invited to get involved in the celebration any way that they can. Suggestions and ideas for the Cliff Dwellings’ “party of the century” will be collected at the Gila Visitor Center during the exhibit of The Secret Behind the Parks of Enchantment. More ways to be involved will be announced in the coming months as we discover how all our stories come together.
Hours for the Gila Visitor Center are 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 7 days a week, closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1. Winter hours for the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument trailhead are 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Guided tours of the dwellings are offered once daily at 12:00 p.m. from fall to spring, and twice daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. from spring to fall. Please allow 20-30 minutes to hike to the tour starting point. For more information contact the Gila Visitor Center 505-536-9561 or www.nps.gov/gicl.