October 2001

Each autumn we check with the rangers at Bandelier to see how our projects fared. Here is the 2001 report:

Park-wide Newspaper $8,000. ($5,500 spent.) We promised funds to print 5,000 copies of two editions of a park-wide newspaper. The first edition came out in May; you should received the second edition soon. Each of you should get a copy. Several people thought that the Friends put out the paper, but it was entirely a Park-Service operation. I passed some nice comments on to Lynne Dominy, Chief of Interpretation, and her secretary, DarIa Herrera. The paper had an article on the Friends and a membership form. We actually received several applications.

Archaeology $8,200. ($2,200 spent) We granted archaeologist Rory Gauthier $6,000 to survey 600 acres of the pinyon-Juniper woodland around lower Alamo Canyon. However, he got enough money from other sources and didn't need ours. Rory calculates that Bandelier has the highest concentration of archaeological sites in the country, at one site per 6 acres. That record may fall to Mesa Verde or Chaco Canyon when he get into the high country where the density of sites is less, but it still verifies Bandelier as a national treasure house. Dr. James Snead completed mapping trails on Tsankawi mesa with our $200 grant. James gave a great talk on his findings. (James missed his calling. He would make a great preacher!) We granted $2,000 to photograph cavate rock art as part of the Vanishing Treasures Program of the National Park Service. Steve Tharnstrom did the work, and DarIa tells us that the pictures are beautiful.

Natural Resources $3,000. $1,000 of this funding provided housing for the Butterfly Research personnel for the elk studies. Dr. Paula Kleintjes and two assistants identified 81 butterfly species in the park and did assessment work in elk study areas. Paula and biologist Stephen Fettig are writing up their results for publication in two scientific journals. Stephen also sent out 640 samples for arthropod identification for the elk studies. Some samples had up to 100 bugs. Results aren't in yet, but what a database!

Maintenance $8000. Our $4,000 provided a mason to repair loose flagstones around the Visitor Center. He also put in a new path to the men's restroom and a beautiful patio around the elaborate new water fountain we bought last year for the loop in the picnic area. Check it out when next you are in the area. Our other $4,000 hired Corrie Thompson and Summer Nelson for backcountry trail maintenance. Trail boss Glen Ryan reports that the two women stabilized the trails around the "Y" that were in danger of being washed out. They also worked on the Frijolito Trail switchbacks, crushing tuff to stabilize the tread. Glen pointed out that this is what a college education gets for one!!. Glen says many trails are in such bad shape that they will have to be rerouted. Superintendent Dennis Vasquez is brainstorming projects for next year and says they may request funds to do a trail assessment.

Cerro Grande Fire: Things seem to better for our nine burned-out families. Three have moved to new homes in Los Alamos, two have moved to Santa Fe, two are rebuilding on their old sites, one is rebuilding elsewhere in Los Alamos. (I haven't seen the ninth family since spring; they were still undecided.) At least, they are all on their way to a new life, as are most of the burnees, which is such a relief for the whole town. Unfortunately, we had some severe flooding last summer, with probably more to come. Part of the sewer line broke. It is difficult to say anything good about a fire that burned over 400 homes to the ground. Still, it forced cooperation between local land management agencies.

Superintendent Vasquez and his staff recently developed a business plan for Bandelier National Monument. In it, he identifies many areas of collaboration with other agencies, principally the Forest Service and the Valles Preserve. The joint ventures are so promising that Dennis intends to pursue them vigorously. Good for him!!!. The rest of us don't care about interagency rivalries. We just care about our public lands.

And the Winner is...: Board member Diane Albert donated a lovely framed photograph of Joshua Trees by David Tubbs for a raffle to benefit the Friends. On August 30, Raffle Master Janali Gustafson, age 6, drew the winning ticket, witnessed by judges Dorrie and Mallory deForest, 6 and 10, respectively. Janali had just returned from Rocky Mountain National Park, where she participated in the Junior Ranger program. The instructor went over her workbook very carefully. When he presented her certificate at the award ceremony in the Visitor Center, he commented that Janali had EARNED hers. Oh, yes, the raffle winner was Patricia Trupp, Diane's ex-landlady. Diane was so delighted she spirited the picture away and presented it that day. Thank you very much, all who bought tickets. It was fun and rewarding for Diane and for us.

September 11 is my granddaughter's birthday. All through that ghastly day, it was sad to realize that the special day for this sweet and feisty little three-year-old would forever be this generation's Day of Infamy. Now the threat of unthinkable terrorism hangs over us all. At times like these, we reflect on those things our country gives us that are most important to us. When you think about it, our spacious skies and purple mountain's majesty from sea to shining sea are really an accident of geography. But America's decision to protect and cherish them is unique among the countries of the world and throughout time. What other country ever set up a bureaucracy that encourages citizen support of cherished causes? I think of 501(c)3 tax status, bulk mailing permits, filing with the State Corporation Commission and the Attorney General's Office to encourage commitment to our individual values. There is little question as to what makes America great. It's a country urging its citizenry to help each other and to help make the world a better place for little three-year-olds. God bless us everyone.

Thank you, First State Bank for reproducing our newsletter. Thank you LANB for continuing faithful support .

Dorothy Hoard, President, Board of Trustees