October 2000


Superintendent Roy Weaver retired in July. The new superintendent has been appointed and will take office on November 6. He is Dennis Vasquez, currently superintendent at White Sands National Monument. Mr. Vasquez has extensive experience in the Southwest, including Big Bend National Park in Texas. Current acting superintendent Joe Sovick spoke highly of Mr. Vasquez and felt he was especially well qualified in resource management, an area of true need at Bandelier (and most national parks, after years of poor funding.) The new superintendent will appoint a new Resource Manager and a new Chief of Interpretation, but it is unlikely that those positions will be staffed before the first of the year. The rangers at Bandelier are all looking forward to the stability after a trying summer. This will be the fourth superintendent the Friends have dealt with in our thirteen-year history. We sincerely hope our relationship is as good with Mr. Vasquez as with John Hunter, Jose Cisneros, and Roy Weaver.

Mr. Sovick commented that visitation at Bandelier was down about 30% this year. He felt that high gasoline prices may be a factor. News reports of fires throughout the West probably had an effect too. Parks and business throughout the area report a similar slow season. We want to thank Acting Superintendent Alan Cox for shepherding Bandelier though the stressful months following the fire. Mr. Cox managed the Park Service efforts in fire mitigation, usually 300 or so people at a time on the burned slopes, in addition to regular duties in the park and his own Chiricahua National Monument. In an especially nice gesture, Mr. Cox redirected a Sierra Club group who had come from nationwide to work on Bandelier trails, asking them instead to help rehabilitate Forest Service and Los Alamos County trails that had been damaged in the fire. In addition, he assigned rangers to direct volunteers in trail repair work outside the park.

Cerro Grande Fire

No one wants a drought, but it was probably the best thing we could ask for this year. We had some rain with some runoff from the bare mountains, but for the most part, we survived our monsoon season. Over the summer, there were massive efforts to stabilize the hillsides - hundreds of fire fighters and volunteers spread grass seed, raked it in, and spread straw mulch. Teams cut logs on the steep slopes and used them to make little check dams. Daredevil pilots in crop dusting planes flew right along the mountain sides to do aerial grass seeding. The mountains are recovering, better in some places than others. In the canyons, aspen shoots are so thick that it looks like a jungle, some over six feet tall. Grass looks like a golf course in some mulched areas. Oak and New Mexico locust are sprouting in all burned areas. Things are still sparse on the steepest slopes - some scrub oak and some small patches of grass where soil collects behind the little check dams. Flood danger remains high for several years following such a catastrophic fire, so we can't rest yet, but initial results are encouraging.

Unfortunately, Los Alamos is not faring as well. The 400 families burned out of their homes have faced a bureaucratic stream of obstacles to rebuilding. Insurance claims, disputes about cleaning up the burned lots, trying to dispose of asbestos waste, the county demanding time to reroute utility lines, determining who is eligible for FEMA housing, claims for federal compensation money, facing a stiffer building code - it all seems so endless. Reaction of the burnees varies: some will rebuild, some are buying homes elsewhere, some haven't decided. A small town like this can't really get back normal until all our people are properly resettled. Everyone knew someone who was burned out.


Each year at this time, we check with Bandelier staff see how our projects are coming. It has been a frustrating and trying summer but visitors to Bandelier still had a quality experience. Ranger Sally King, manager of the Visitor Center, reports that Coffee-with-a-Ranger was held every morning from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It was well received, as usual, as were the Cultural Awareness Pueblo Crafts weekly demonstrations by craftspeople from nearby pueblos. Also, each year we purchase craft items from the demonstrators. Archivist Gary Roybal arranged the purchase of three different items: a woman's and a girl's black manta from Renee Roybal and men's embroidered leggings from Mrs. Dorme of Tesuque.

Rangers had also requested funds to mount a millennium exhibit showing 1000 years at Bandelier. The exhibit will not be done this year, but may be funded next year (the true start of the new millennium). Ranger-in-charge Sally King had a hectic year; her half of a duplex was not destroyed in the Cerro Grande Fire, but the building burned enough that it was condemned. She is getting a new house in White Rock. In addition, Sally served intermittently as acting Chief of Interpretation following Al Seidenkranz's retirement in July.

A new drinking water hydrant in the picnic area has not been installed yet, but 1'm told it should be in by the end of the year. We granted funds to clean and preserve a prehistoric hafted ax, but the rangers requested we change that to cleaning a puki found in an inaccessible cave in Frijoles Canyon. A puki is a ceramic plate-like implement that potters use as a base to construct their pots upon. Because pukis are rarely found, this one is a special treasure. Acting Resource Manager Dave Hayes has a special interest in the puki; he had to rappel into the cave to retrieve it!


Archaeologist Rory Gauthier asked for $6,000 to augment the $13,100 from other sources to survey 200 more acres in the park. Alas, Rory's summer was more than he anticipated. While out surveying, one team member fell and sprained her ankle so badly that they brought in the horses to carry her out. Because of staffing changes and shifting of assignments this summer, Rory was not able to spend any of our money. Under other funding, he surveyed approximately 110-130 acres, and found new 12 sites. He also located three large (30 to 50 rooms) Classic Period sites. Said Rory, "This was quite unexpected since I always assumed that all of the big Classic sites had been located. See what happens when you assume! What I like about these sites is that they still have some standing walls. One site is also unusual in that it is built on the side of a small canyon and is terraced down the canyon slope, using the small benches as floors and the back wall."

Because archaeologist Dave Hayes was acting Resource Manager during the crisis, Rory had to assume duties directing the revamping of Tsankawi trails. For those who haven't been to Tsankawi lately, the trail has been rerouted between the entrance station and the big dance rock. A ladder was installed to climb up to the dance rock. The old asphalt trail has been removed; the surrounding area is now an experimental treatment area to determine effective ways to restore Tsankawi's landscape to levels approximating those between 1600 and 1870. These are the first actions taken to implement the new Management Plan for Tsankawi, issued in March 2000. The environmental assessment for the management plan paints a sad picture of resource degradation at Tsankawi.

In addition, the rangers needed a projector for portable PC computers so they can give better professional presentations. They did buy the projector and used it extensively for briefings on the effects of the 1996 Dome fire. David Hayes also asked for $200 to develop 38 rolls of film taken during past surveys. Dave reports, "We developed every film we had exposed and then had a Native American student archive the images. I could not get all the films processed at the same place so we had three rolls returned. They are awaiting future shipment with the other films taken during the summer field seasons. It is a very comforting feeling knowing we have caught-up with the huge backlog of film processing." Also, the rangers happily picked up the map cabinet offered by our board member, Fletcher Catron. They are waiting for Bandelier's section of the controlled storage space in Santa Fe to become available so they can begin to use it.

Ecological Studies

We did fund butterfly research in the elk study areas in the Bandelier backcountry. Butterflies are good indicators of healthy environments, much like canaries in coal mines. Wildlife biologist Stephen Fettig engaged Dr. Paula Kleintjes of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. Paula carne for a short time in June but found very few butterflies because of the dry conditions. She returned in August for a second count period, but still found almost no butterflies at lower elevations. She did find good numbers in the upper elevation study areas. One nice find near the intersection of Highway 4 and Forest Road 289 (Dome Road) was a tailed copper, which has been recorded in Los Alamos and Sandoval Counties, but not previously reported in Bandelier. In the eastern Jemez Mountains it is considered uncommon, but not extraordinary. Beautiful wherever it is found!

The wildlife exclosures are areas fenced to keep out large animals like deer and elk. Their purpose is to determine the effects of grazing and browsing on vegetation, insects, and small animals. In mid-August, wildlife workers counted all the flowers and flower buds of shrubby cinquefoil within a 30m x 30m square inside the exclosure and an equal sized area just outside the fence. There were 11,256 flowers inside compared to 547 flowers outside. These numbers suggest that browsing could be limiting an important source of nectar for insects. Stephen is quite concerned about elk browsing on aspen shoots coming up after the fire. The elk are still in the high mountains meadows; it isn't known how severely they will affect the aspen in the lower, fire-impacted areas. During years of heavy snow, elk come down from the mountains as far as White Rock to find food.

Other Business

Steve Reneau, researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, recently received an award for his work to help in the fire recovery efforts. Steve generously donated the award money to the Friends. In his accompanying note, Steve eloquently expressed how most of us feel. "I would like to use this money to show my support for Bandelier following this tragedy. It is such a sad twist of fate that Bandelier, which was a leader in recognizing and trying to reduce the extreme fire danger in the Jemez, should have unwittingly set this chain of events in motion."

Trail Mapping

We received James Snead's report on his trail mapping project in the summer of 1999, funded by our Bob Massey Memorial Fund. First, James had to develop a set of construction characteristics to describe prehistoric trails, such as wearing, steps, hand-and-toe holds, cleared talus, etc., as well as associated features - berms, shoring, flanking walls, etc. He gave each trail a Laboratory of Anthropology number and used standard site forms to record each trail. Because the trails are not contiguous, James had to identify trail segments, then determine which segments belonged to which trail system. He documented almost 2.5 miles of trail segments in Bandelier before being called to help gather data for the Tsankawi Management Plan. There, he recorded 2.75 miles of an extensive trail system on and around Tsankawi Mesa. It was a very busy three weeks for James and his crew, including students from San Ildefonso Pueblo, which considers Tsankawi one of its ancestral homes.


Our board member, Diane Albert, has donated a lovely framed photograph of Joshua Trees by David Tubbs to be raffled off to benefit the Friends. You can see it at the Health Food Shop in Central Park Square, Los Alamos (next to Radio Shack) where tickets are available for $10. Only 96 tickets will be sold. The picture is valued at $300.00. For tickets by mail, contact us at PO Box 1282, Los Alamos, NM 87544.

Ethnic Diversity Conference

Board member Diane Albert is on the National Council of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), an organization devoted to preserving and enhancing our National Parks. On November 8-12, 2000, in Santa Fe, NPCA and the National Park Service will be hosting a conference called "America's Parks - America's People: A Mosaic in Motion 2: National Parks Embracing and Engaging All People." The purpose of this event is to bring together the National Park Service with representatives of culturally diverse organizations and institutions to continue the work begun in January 1999 at the "America's Parks - America's People: A Mosaic in Motion" conference held in San Francisco, CA. The Santa Fe conference emphasizes Native American and Hispanic Relations with the National Park Service, as well as African American and Asian concerns. Thomas Kiernan, President of NPCA and Karen Wade, Director of the National Park Service Intermountain Region, are expected to attend. See http://www.npca.org/whatwedo/ mosaic.html and http://www.npca.org/cultural_diversity/mosaic_in_motion/ for more information.

The Mosaic 2 Conference Themes include: a) Reflecting on the past: creating a new future; b) Community partners on the rise: the power is in our hands; c) National Parks engaging all people: making change a reality. Diane personally invites you to attend this event. She will send you flyers with more information on the Mosaic Conference. Please distribute them to the appropriate people: anyone who is interested in this topic. If you have questions, please call Diane at 665-2266 or call the NPCA SW Regional Office at 505/2471221, or e-mail southwest@npca.org.

Thank you Los Alamos National Bank For faithfully reproducing our Newsletters for 13 long years

Dorothy Hoard, Board of Trustees Friends of Bandelier

Friends Board

Diane Albert/Los Alamos; Sheryl Bishop/Santa Fe; Laura Bohn/Nambe; Fletcher Catron/Santa Fe; Sarah Gustafson/Los Alamos; Dorothy Hoard/Los Alamos; William Knightly/ Santa Fe; Gloria Sawtell/Santa Fe; Ron Schultz/Santa Fe; Paul Smith/Los Alamos

A New Mexico Non-profit Corporation

P.O. Box 1282 Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544