Hummer Marchand: Heritage at risk
Our National Monuments are being reviewed for possible downsizing and opening to oil, gas and mining in the areas removed from the monuments protection.
I recently visited Canyon of the Ancients, Hovenweep, Mesa Verde and other cultural heritage sites in Southwest Colorado. I came to realize that we have the wonderful good fortune to have within driving distance, evidence of societies that occupied the area for 10,000 years or more.
Archeologists theorize, based on pottery evidence, that the Anasazi were early inhabitants, but the settlements pre-date their arrival. There are many stone structures, made from hand-hewn sandstone, block buildings in various shapes and locations on top of giant boulders, in the canyon walls and on the rim of the canyon. The precision of the construction is amazingly accurate, especially considering the builders had only stone tools to shape the blocks. They created their own native mortar to cement them and they are still standing after thousands of years. How many buildings today will last even a few hundred years?
Ancient peoples left us their legacy at places like Machu Picchu, Palmyra, the Giza Plateau, Bear’s Ears and Canyons of the Ancients. These places hold a special place in our human history and are the treasures we inherited from those who lived so long ago.
Even our great society will one day vanish. What will we leave for the future to understand that we were a civilized people? Perhaps it will be that we recognized, shared, and appreciated the works of those who came before us and that we preserved the beauty of nature.
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Our society has created National Monuments to protect special places that touch us in ways that are not always measurable in the mundane. Rather, they are food for the soul.
If honoring our National Monuments, those ancient places of full of history and natural beauty is important to you, please let the U.S. Department of the Interior know by registering your comments before the July 10 deadline. You can do this at monumentsforall.org where your comments will automatically be linked to the Department of Interior’s website. Your comments will carry more weight if they mention specific monuments and your personal experiences.
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