Southwest Colorado Cultural Site Stewardship Program

The San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) is a non-profit partner of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The SJMA's Southwest Colorado Cultural Site Stewardship Program (CSSP) provides essential “eyes and ears” through volunteer monitoring of federally-owned archaeological sites. The CSSP is the largest SJMA program with more than 100 stewards. Stewards monitor sites in a broad geographical area, extending across the San Juan National Forest, the BLM lands of the San Juan Resource Area, and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

The CSSP provides required steward training with cultural resource professionals. Training covers the history, purpose, and philosophy of the program; the partnership between the CSSP and federal agencies; safety; law enforcement issues; site etiquette; protocols for monitoring; and electronic reporting. The CSSP also sponsors workshops and field trips for stewards to gain additional training.

Trained site stewards monitor their adopted sites on a regular basis and document any changes to the sites. In addition, the site stewardship program provides ongoing opportunities for trained stewards to help protect and preserve important historic resources through hands-on projects that include site mapping, structure documentation, archival research, and artifact identification.

The Family Steward Project is a new component of the CSSP. The project trains youth and their parents to become site stewards as a family. Families participate in outdoor monitoring activities as they hike or walk to their adopted site, providing a mechanism for family outings. This program will help train the next generation of preservationists by giving youth a better appreciation of natural, cultural, and historic resources.

Designated a Preserve America Steward in January 2009.