October 2003


As many of you know, Superintendent Dennis Vasquez has been reassigned to the National Park Service Harper's Ferry facility in West Virginia. Dennis did an excellent job representing Bandelier after the catastrophic Cerro Grande Fire in 2002. We thank him and wish him well in his new endeavors. His successor is ex-assistant superintendent Steve Bone. Steve attended our autumn board meeting to discuss his priorities. He emphasized natural resources management, especially the Wilderness and the Fire Management Plans. The Wilderness Plan will be based on ecological restoration, an approach that Bandelier champions and which is breaking new ground among natural resource professionals. Before coming to Bandelier, Steve was Chief Ranger at Grand Canyon National Park. Steve emphasized several times that Bandelier has an excellent staff that carries on through all the turmoil. We certainly agree.


Here is a report on our grants for 2002, all carried out by the Bandelier rangers.


Park-wide Newspaper $4,397. For the second year, Chief of Interpretation Lynne Dominy produced two editions of the Bandelier newspaper. She reports that the paper is well received and that the mailing list grows by 40 names per month. Our funds covered printing 5,000 copies of the spring edition. The Los Alamos Lodgers' Tax Board granted $1,500 to help with the autumn edition. Each of you should be getting copies of the paper.


Archaeology $6,000. This summer, archaeologist Rory Gauthier and his crew inventoried approximately 650 acres and recorded 56 previously unknown archeological sites. They concentrated on the isolated mesas between Alamo and Capulin Canyons. They recorded 31 fieldhouse sites, the most common site type. These one- to two-room "farmsteads" were occupied only during the growing season. Nearly all date to the early Rio Grande Classic period (ca. AD 1325-1450). The farmers probably lived in the large pueblos of Yapashi or Shohakka. The crew also recorded 15 artifact scatter sites. Eleven of these probably date to the late Archaic period (ca. 1500 BC to AD 600) and represent campsites for people subsisting by hunting and gathering. The crew found the base of a projectile point dating to the late Paleolndian period (ca. 7000 BC). Artifacts from this period are quite rare here and this is only the second example of a Paleolndian tool found in Bandelier. They also recorded six pueblos dating to the Coalition Period (ca. AD 1175-1325). These first Pueblo farmers in Bandelier lived in the small villages where their homes contained 6 to 20 rooms. The crew also recorded one beautiful prehistoric trail segment, one shrine and two eagle traps. Following the inventory, Rory began a long-term program to monitor archeological sites. They re-visited 450 sites to establish plots to document erosion rates. This project is the first step to protect and preserve 2,600+ archeological sites. Overall, Rory reports a very busy and productive summer. The crew often was excellent and did not complain too much despite record drought and heat. They inventoried about 2% of the park; the total acreage now stands at approximately 67% inventoried.


Pueblo Outreach $1,000. This is a sad situation. Pueblo leaders told Lynne that many of their elders and children have never visited Bandelier and do not feel welcome there. Lynne wants to set up a program to bus people from the pueblos to Bandelier for special tours. We did not have the money; instead, we applied to the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation for a grant to us. The foundation specializes in educational grants and we felt we had an excellent proposal within their interest range. Unfortunately, the LANL Foundation had more worthy proposals than ours. However, we had unexpected windfalls. The Los Alamos Historical Society hosted a talk by noted Santa Clara artist Pablita Velarde and let us sell our print of Pablita's painting, "Basket Dance." Pablita graciously signed the prints for the buyers. Also, the Bandelier bookstore ordered Pablita prints for their shop. In addition, we received a generous donation from First State Bank in Santa Fe. Between these three, we garnered enough income to authorize Lynne to offer the tours for the pueblos. We'll call it our Pablita Project. (Incidentally, Pablita, now in her eighties, is an absolute delight. Take advantage of any chance to meet her.)


Site Conservation and Heritage Management $3,000. This grant paid for one of five students from the pueblos of San Juan, San Ildefonso, and Santo Domingo. The crew first took a training program on stabilizing stone masonry walls. Then they repaired many unstable walls at Tyuonyi, using historic photographs from the early twentieth century to assure accuracy. They also documented their work with before and after photographs. In all, they stabilized over 50 wall faces. In addition, the students documented approximately 180 prehistoric cavates in Frijoles Canyon. The work included photography, architectural descriptions and drawings, and condition assessment. It all seems like a good return on our $3,000! This work is part of the Vanishing Treasures Program, funded by the National Park Service. Preservation and an Architectural Conservation Grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust.


Critical Resource Brochures. These have been put on hold, so our $1,600 wasn't spent. The brochures would cover fire ecology and wilderness management - certainly delicate topics here following the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000. Forest management is now complicated by massive die-off of pinyons and ponderosa pines throughout our area (and in the entire southwest) because of bark beetle infestations aggravated by drought. Our far-away Friends will be shocked if they come to visit. Land managers have a daunting challenge ahead in dealing with hundreds of square miles of dead trees. It seems that fate continues to try our souls with respect to our beloved land.

November 2002 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the month the Friends went public. To our charter members and subsequent members throughout the years, the Board says thank you very, very much for being Friends. We of the Board extend our very best wishes to you all for the holiday season and for a satisfying New Year.


Dorothy Hoard, President, Board of Trustees.


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