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By Shirley A. Miller
Special to The PREVIEW
In 2013, I retired from the medical profession to enjoy life. After working 10- to 12-hour days for 45 years, I looked forward to relaxing and basically doing nothing. Well, that worked for me for about a month.
At a social event I met Helen Richardson, who talked to me about Chimney Rock and invited me to attend the monthly potluck at the community center that is held the second Thursday of every month.
The speaker was the director from another archaeological area. I was hooked. I had limited knowledge regarding Chimney Rock, as I had lived in Pagosa Springs for the last eight years. I wanted more information. I thought “What a great way to obtain the information than by signing up to be a volunteer.”
As a part of being a volunteer, Chimney Rock Interpretative Association (CRIA) provides great educational training. I chose to be a “cabin host” because I still wanted to learn more and being a cabin host allowed me access to all of the informative literature that is for sale in the cabin.
On my first day I was teamed up with a knowledgeable, experienced cabin host to assist me with all of the processes. I was excited, as I was finally going to get firsthand knowledge.
A function of being a cabin host is to meet and greet individuals and explain the many tour options to find out what will be the best fit for them. What a wonderful surprise to have an opportunity to meet individuals from a majority of the states and several countries. It is always entertaining finding out what brings them to our part of Colorado and their interest in Chimney Rock. We are fortunate to live in an area that we are able to share a great part of American history. I recommend you come to either a potluck or to the national monument, which opens May 15, and experience this wonderful opportunity. Who knows, you may want to join us.
The public is invited to attend the CRIA monthly potluck today (Thursday, April 10) at the Ross Aragon Community Center, located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
Following the potluck, CRIA is proud to present “Archaeological Law and Ethics” by Dr. Susan C. Ryan. The lecture is free of charge and will take place from 7-8 p.m. The CRIA potlucks offer an opportunity to learn more about the association and related volunteer opportunities.
CRIA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest. Financial support for CRIA comes from tour and program fees, merchandise sales, grants and generous donations from the Friends of Chimney Rock in order to preserve this important part of Colorado’s history. Public support is vital for continued programming and site preservation. If you are interested in joining our volunteer team or are able to make a donation, please go to www.chimneyrockco.org.