Star Trails over Chaco Culture National Heritage Park

Robert Tohe, senior representative for Sierra Club’s Our Wild America, is organizing a tour of the greater Chaco Canyon and outliers. The purpose of the trip is to call national attention to the ongoing impacts of oil and gas to the cultural landscape and resources in the region. Robert is the New Mexico representative working on dirty fuels campaign for the Sierra Club.  Robert has invited several other area tribal representatives to provide an indigenous perspective on the historical significance of the Chaco Canyon resources to regional tribes.

The program starts at 9 am Saturday morning and ends Sunday noon. Trip leaders will camp out Friday night and Saturday nights, so participants can schedule their arrival accordingly.

The Saturday program includes presentations by famed Navajo botanist and geologist Arnold Clifford, who will address the significance of Chaco Canyon region. Taft Blackhorse Jr., an archeo-astronomer, will talk astronomical lookout sites and their importance for observing the night sky. Mike Eisenfeld, from the San Juan Citizens Alliance, will talk about the oil and gas industry in the San Juan Basin. The Sunday program focuses on a BLM presentation on paleontology resources or a side trip to the Bisti/De Na Zin wilderness.

Participants should bring water and food for the entire trip. No concessions are present inside the park. Participants also need camping gear, hiking boots, hats, and sunscreen. No dogs allowed. Easy to moderate hiking. Night time temperatures may drop to 40s, and possibly upper 30s.

RSVP to Sierra Club trip leader Connie Falk at 505-330-5084 or Robert Tohe, 928-606-2362.



Friday April 29 – Arrive at Angel Peak National Recreation Area campgrounds driving distance Albuquerque to Nageezi 134 miles, 2 hrs and 8 min. using US 550 Highway. Driving distance from Bloomfield NM to Angel Peak Recreation Area, 19 miles, (Farmington via Bloomfield to Angel Peak 33 miles). Turn off highway US 550 to Cty Road 7011. Angel Peak Recreation Area to Nageezi, NM 36 miles.

Saturday April 30 – Arrive at Chaco Culture Historical National Park, visitor center. From US Highway 550, turn at Red Mesa Store, onto road 7061, to road 7900, to road 7950, drive 21 miles to the Chaco Park. The road off of US 550 is paved for a few miles; otherwise you will be driving on BIA and County dirt roads.

  • 9 am. Opening & introductions
  • Presentation about Cultural Landscape within the Park and Greater Chaco Areas (Taft Blackhorse Jr, Arnold Clifford)
  • Noon. Lunch break
  • 1 pm. Tour of oil & gas sites (Daniel Tso)
  • 3pm. Return to Angel Peak camp grounds

Sunday May 1

  • 9 am. Arrive at at Bisti/De Na Zin Wilderness
  • Presentation on paleontology resources (Sherrie Landon, BLM)
  • BLM past and current development of oil and gas leasing and its effects upon resources (Mike Eisenfeld, San Juan Citizens Alliance)
  • Noon. End

Featured image from Alex Headman.

Camping trip to Chaco Canyon
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