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The Four Corners region is in the red area on this map
The Four Corners is a region of the United Statesmarker consisting of southwest Coloradomarker, northwest New Mexicomarker, northeast Arizonamarker and southeast Utahmarker. The boundaries of the four states listed above meet at one point -- the only such geographic point in the entire United States. The Four Corners area is named after the point where the boundaries meet. There is also a Four Corners Monumentmarker showing the exact location where the four states touch. The majority of the Four Corners region is part of semi-autonomous indigenous American Indian nations. Two of these are the Navajo Nation and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation which both have boundaries at the Four Corners Monument in addition to the four states. The Navajo Nation covers three of the four state corners; the Ute Mountain Reservation is found only in the Colorado corner. The most populous city and economic capital of the region is Farmington, New Mexicomarker.

History

The United States first acquired the area now called Four Corners from Mexicomarker after the Mexican American War in 1848. The area was first surveyed by the U.S. Government in 1868 as part of an effort to form the state of Colorado, the first of the Four Corners states formed. The Four Corners was established as the jurisdictional boundary when the boundaries of the Arizona Territory were established. The first marker was placed at the spot in 1912. The first Navajo tribal government was established in 1923 to regulate an increasing number of oil exploration activities on Navajo tribal lands.
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Geography

Four Corners Monument before remodeling.
The actual spot where the four states come together, 2008


The Four Corners Area is generally defined as a circle around the Four Corners Monumentmarker located at . A series of news stories in April 2009 indicated that more recent surveys had determined that the intersection of the corners was not where it was intended to be. However, the news stories used whole degree co-ordinates, not accounting for the fractional degree offset between the Washington Meridian standard, used at the time, and the current standard, the Prime Meridian. In addition, general U.S. land principles, law, and the Supreme Court have determined that the location of the monument is the legal corner of the four States.
The Four Corners is part of a high Colorado Plateau. This makes the area a center for weather systems, which stabilize on the plateau then proceed eastward toward the central and mountain states. This weather system creates snow and rain fall over the central United States.

Protected areas in the Four Corners area include Canyon de Chelly National Monumentmarker, Hovenweep National Monumentmarker, Mesa Verde National Parkmarker and Monument Valley. Mountain Ranges in the Four Corners include Sleeping Ute Mountainsmarker, Abajo Mountains and the Chuska Mountainsmarker.

Politics

Six governments have jurisdictional boundaries at the Four Corners: the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah as well as the tribal governments of the Navajo Nation and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The Four Corners Monument itself is administered by the Navajo Nation Department of Parks and Recreation. Other tribal nations within the Four Corners region include Hopi and other Ute tribes. The Four Corners is home to the capital of the Navajo tribal government at Window Rock, Arizonamarker. The Ute Mountain Ute Tribal headquarters are located at Towaoc, Coloradomarker.

Cities

Four Corners region is mostly rural. The economic hub, largest city, and only metropolitan area in the region is Farmington, New Mexicomarker. The populated settlement closest to the center of Four Corners is Teec Nos Pos, Arizonamarker. Other cities in the region include, Cortezmarker and Durangomarker in Colorado, Monticellomarker and Blandingmarker in Utah, Kayentamarker and Chinlemarker in Arizona and Shiprockmarker, Aztecmarker and Bloomfieldmarker in New Mexico.

Transportation

Interstate 40 passes along the southern edge of the Four Corners region. The primary U.S. Highways that directly serve the Four Corners include U.S. Route 64, U.S. Route 160 (which serves the Four Corners Monumentmarker itself), U.S. Route 163, U.S. Route 191, U.S. Route 491 (previously U.S. Route 666) and U.S. Route 550.

The main line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, now operated by the BNSF Railway, passes along the southern edge of Four Corners. The area is home to remnants of through railroads that are now heritage railways. These include the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroadmarker and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroadmarker. The Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad, which connects a power plant with a coal mine near Kayenta comes near the Four Corners.

See also



Notes

  1. "The Boundary lines, actually run and marked in the surveys returned by the surveyor general, shall be established as the proper boundary lines of the sections or subdivisions for which they were intended",
  2. (Title U.S.C. 43, Sec, 752).



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