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Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance Suspends Operations

Graeme Churchard
Creative Commons

The Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance, a nonprofit supporting Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the Anasazi Heritage Center, has suspended operations.

In an email to supporters earlier this month, the alliance’s board of directors said they believe the group needs a more defined role. They said they had sought to forge a memorandum of understanding with the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the monument, to establish the alliance as a “friends” group. But the email said the BLM “decided not to enter into such an agreement”. The alliance, formed in 2013, has organized restoration projects on the monument, sponsored lectures, and co-sponsored last October’s Ride of the Ancients bike tour. Monument Manager Marietta Eaton tells KSJD she was surprised by the announcement because the two entities had been planning four projects together. Eaton says they were drafting an MOU but mutually agreed to put it on the back burner to get work done on the ground. Eaton says she highly values having a “friends” group and is disappointed there was not a better outcome. She says she supports the alliance’s decision and the door remains open to work with the BLM if and when the alliance ends its hiatus. Alliance executive director Diane McBride could not be reached. Board chair Dale Davidson says this year’s lectures and bike ride will go on as planned.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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