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FARMINGTON — The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association has been awarded the 2015 Colorado Governor's Tourism Award for outstanding community tourism initiative.

The interpretive association, which is headquartered in Pagosa Springs, Colo., is a nonprofit, volunteer-based initiative that focuses on joint community stewardship of Chimney Rock National Monument. It runs the operations at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and San Juan National Forest and provides interpretive programs.

The organization received the award because of its promotion of tourism in southwestern Colorado, including using partnerships, creativity and innovation to increase visitation to the national monument and help the local economy, according to a press release.

The group has increased the monument's visibility through a signage campaign that resulted in two signs placed on U.S. Highway 160. It also partnered with other archaeological sites in the region. The marketing campaign helped increase the visitation nearly 30 percent through August, according to the press release.

In the release lease, the association noted that the award's timing coincided with the three-year anniversary of the designation of Chimney Rock as a national monument. The designation ensured that the cultural site, which includes ancestral Puebloan dwellings, will be preserved.

For more information about the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, go to chimneyrockco.org.

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