Jan Kronsell

Visited Four Corners? Maybe Not

April 22, 2009 06:00 PM
by Cara McDonough
Tourists who have visited the intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah just got some bad news: The real “Four Corners” may be more than two miles away.

First Survey Was Inaccurate, Say Experts

National Geodetic Survey officials have announced that the Four Corners marker—the only spot in the country where four state boundaries meet—is not where it should be.

According to their analysis, the official Four Corners marker is about 2.5 miles west of where it should be. They say the first survey of the intersection, conducted by the government in 1868 during a survey of Colorado's southern boundary, was inaccurate.

Officials say the correct intersection is to the east of U.S. Route 160 in Colorado, northeast of the San Juan River where it flows into New Mexico.

Background: The Four Corners monument

The site and surrounding area is home to “Red rock canyons, towering mountains, pristine forests, rushing rivers, stunning deserts,” according to the Four Corners Tourist Information Web site. The site provides information on lodging in the area, as well as activities visitors may enjoy, including wineries and spas, and outdoor activities like kayaking, skydiving and rock climbing.

An official monument marks the Four Corners site where tourists can stand in all four states at one time, and often stop to take pictures. The Utah Travel Industry Web site has a short video on Four Corners Monument.

Reactions: Taking in the news

Some people aren’t accepting the news without a fight. "The Four Corners Monument that everybody goes and visits is exactly where it should be," said Randy Zanon, chief cadastral surveyor for Colorado's Bureau of Land Management, to The Associated Press. He says that the marker was set in 1875, has been adopted by all four states and was decreed by the Supreme Court in 1925. Therefore, Zanon contends, the monument is valid, no matter what the officials say.

He continued with words for those who have visited the spot: “I just want to assure everybody that's visited the monument or that's going to visit the monument in the future that when you stand there, you will be at all four states.”

Ted Alvarez, who writes for The Daily Dirt, a blog on the Backpacker Magazine Web site, took a more casual approach to the news. “As for you Four Corners visitors, there's only one thing to do: Find mom, dad, sis, bro, and grandma, pile back into the minivan/station wagon, and head back out to the real Four Corners,” he writes. “That, or get a life.”

Reference: Arizona travel


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