Southwest Canyons Alliance has a successful first year

Group optimistic about future as independent nonprofit

In its first year, the Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance fulfilled its mission of archaeology education and volunteerism.

During its first annual meeting April 5, the fledgling advocacy group was optimistic about a solid beginning and a productive future.

“We’re proud of our efforts, and have a good start financially,” said Alliance director Diane McBride.

Replacing Friends of the Monument, SWCCA mission is to support BLM Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the Anasazi Heritage Center.

The group is under the umbrella of the Onward Legacy Foundation, but will soon become an independent entity with a 501 c3 nonprofit status.

In just one year, it has made several accomplishments.

The group started the Bucks for Buses program, which provides schools with transportation funding to visit local archaeological attractions. It has also negotiated funding for additional signage at COANM, created a website, held a public movie matinee, planned a monument restoration day on April 26, and assisted the Anasazi Heritage Center in public events.

Bylaws and a strategic plan were developed, and a board of directors was formed.

McBride said the organization offers assistance to offset chronic low funding of the BLM and monument.

“The annual funding at $2 per acre is not enough to manage all of the resources,” McBride said. “Through us we can dedicate time and raise funds to help.”

In its first year, SWCCA raised $23,745 in contributions and $22,500 in grants. After total expenses, it has a cash balance of $36,184.

“I’m proud of their support,” said Marietta Eaton, monument manager. “They make it look easy, but it is a lot of time and effort. I see great things in our partnership.”

Visit the SWCCA website at www.swcocanyons.org

jmimiaga@cortezjournal.com