US Interior Secretary: Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients isn’t a priority for review

Canyons of the Ancients
Canyons of the Ancients / Mesa Verde Country

DENVER, Colo. — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients is not currently a priority as his agency reviews protections granted to more than two dozen national monuments nationwide.

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner said he was encouraged by Zinke’s comment during a hearing Tuesday.

GOP Rep. Scott Tipton said he too was encouraged. Tipton’s district includes the monument, which draws more than 30,000 visitors annually.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift did not elaborate on Zinke’s statement.

The Interior Department is reviewing the monuments at the direction of President Donald Trump.

President Bill Clinton designated the Canyons of the Ancients in 2000. It covers 275 square miles and has more than 6,000 known archaeological sites.

It’s the only Colorado site under review.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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