On Wednesday, May 9, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and Paquimé Archeological Zone in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico, formalized a special Sister Park partnership in an official ceremony at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
“The United States and Mexico have a long history of cooperation on park and protected area matters,” said Superintendent Karl Cordova. “After several years of informal exchange, Casa Grande Ruins has entered into a formal partnership that will enhance the ability of both areas to preserve and interpret cultural resources that are perpetually threatened by external factors such as vandalism, erosion, animal damage, and public use.”
Paquimé is the contemporary name given to a pre-Columbian archaeological zone, located in northwestern Mexico. It is one of the largest and most complex archaeological sites in northern Mexico. Paquimé, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1998. Paquimé and the site of Casa Grande were inhabited during the same prehistoric cultural period. Inhabitants of Paquimé left at approximately the same time that the ancestral Sonoran Desert people vacated the site of Casa Grande in Arizona—around 1450 CE. Residents of Paquimé relied heavily on irrigation agriculture and built large earthen structures similarly to the people of the middle Gila River Valley, including Casa Grande Ruins. The two sites have many similarities.
The purpose of the Sister Park partnership is to share common ideals of stewardship and preservation of the resources given to their care and to participate in cooperative projects benefitting both Paquimé and Casa Grande Ruins. Future cooperative activities may include:
Sharing the results of scientific research of mutual interest.
Resource management methods and techniques for preserving earthen architecture and for controlling exotic and pest species that threaten archeological resources.
Interpretive and Education techniques, programs, and facilities, including designs for youth education programs and curriculum.
Recreation and tourism management and planning, including private and public partnerships for development and economic development.
Development of volunteer and “Friends” organizations for park support.
Promoting the economic benefits of parks.
Working to improve relationships with gateway communicates and other stakeholders important to effective stewardship.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument protects the multi-story ‘Great House’ and the ruins of other ancient structures built by the people of the Sonoran Desert over 800 years ago. Established as the nation’s first archeological reserve in 1892, the Ruins sparked the beginning of the archeological preservation movement in America. The Monument is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Directions and additional information are available on the Monument’s website, http://www.nps.gov/cagr, or you may call (520) 723-3172.