Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico


Sandoval County officials are discussing the possibility of asking Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to designate the nearby Tent Rocks as a national monument. "The uniqueness of the area certainly elevates it to monument status," County spokesman Gayland Bryant said. Tent Rocks is on 5,400 acres of public lands in the foothills of the Jemez Mountains, nestled between the pueblo and private land. To reach it, visitors must travel pueblo roads. During the last million years, a tremendous volcanic explosion northwest of the area spewed ash and rock for hundreds of square miles, leaving volcanic debris up to 400 feet thick. Over time, water cut into the deposits creating canyons, arroyos and other features. A cooperative management agreement was reached in December 1997 between the Bureau of Land Management and the pueblo. As part of the agreement, tribal members patrol the site daily. A BLM district office spokesman said designating Tent Rocks as a monument would help give it national stature and lead to more funding for stronger management. He added the bureau has a good relationship with both the county and pueblo and he hopes a designation would help make much needed improvements to the primitive site, such as bring in drinking water.