Archaeologists call on feds to protect Chaco Canyon area

Chaco canyon

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – Archaeologists from universities and organizations around the nation are calling on the U.S. Interior Department to protect the area around Chaco Culture National Historical Park from oil and gas development.

Nearly 30 archaeologists sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday to highlight their concerns. It comes a day after Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall toured the area in northwestern New Mexico.

The archaeologists say communications and road systems that once linked the canyon to other sites as far away as southeast Utah are still being identified, but the construction of roads, pipelines and well pads are causing damage.

They’re pushing for a master plan to ensure future development doesn’t compromise the area, some of which is designated as a World Heritage site. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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