July 2004


It's been hectic for all of us this spring and summer, so it took some time to arrange our annual granting meeting (and for me to get out this newsletter). The rangers at Bandelier were already committed to a full load of summer work, so Bandelier's request list was not so long this year; we can actually afford all of it. Even so, the board feels that these are good grants that will benefit the park. First, some news. We have a new board member, Brian Scott of Los Alamos. Brian is interested in matching grants, one of our best strategies for helping Bandelier. We are fortunate in having so many young people with fresh outlooks on our board-Laura, Sarah, Diane, and now Brian. So, welcome, Brian.


Bandelier 2004 Requests for Funding, $11,350

Replacement of Signs and Removal of Fencing, $2,000. The park is cluttered with signs, many obsolete, many unreadable, some unsightly, most nonstandard. Superintendent Darlene Koontz set up a task force to inventory park-wide signs and recommend their removal/ relocation/replacement where needed. In addition, the park has some inappropriate fencing that needs to be removed. Our funds will be used for supplies to make traditional park service wooden signs for installation only where appropriate.


Water Fountain and Jug Filler Faucet, $3,000. The present water faucet by the visitor center leaks, is unsightly, not winter proof, and must be turned off seasonally. Our funds will be used to purchase a new, frost-proof fountain and jug filler faucet. As part of the upgrade, the fountain will be handicapped-accessible. Chief of Maintenance, Vito Spinale, will install the faucet and fountain in a new location and put flagstone around the base, making it more attractive and easier to use.


Night Sky Lighting, $2,000. Superintendent Koontz set up a task force to inventory lighting in the park and recommend ways to restore and protect the superb night sky resource in Frijoles Canyon. The goal is to shield and direct the light downward and replace current bulbs with more efficient one. Our funds will be used to buy the hardware. Crews will start in the canyon and work up to the mesa top. (Now, if only Los Alamos National Laboratory would do the same, we could have a real night sky!)


Student for Park Flight Program, $800. Wildlife specialist Stephen Fettig has arranged for a student from Costa Rica to do research and educational programs on birds of Bandelier. This is a matching grant that supplements other funds supporting her six-week stay at the park.


Cultural Demonstration Dancers, $800. As part of the Cultural Demonstration Program, Bandelier is hosting three programs of dancers from local pueblos. The first program on Memorial Day Sunday was very successful. Dancers from San Juan Pueblo performed on the Fourth-of-July Sunday. Chief of Interpretation Lynne Dominy hopes to get dancers from Cochiti or San Ildefonso for Labor Day Sunday. Our funds will pay the honoraria for two groups.


Wilderness Commemoration, $1,000. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964. Lynne plans to celebrate with events in the autumn during Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta week, one of the busiest times of year at the park. Our money will pay for auto stickers, handouts, etc, explaining the significance of the act.


Conservation of Bone Flute, $750. Lynne and Curator Gary Roybal are conducting an assessment of Bandelier's collection of archaeological, historic, and contemporary holdings. They found a number of items that need conservation soon, and are asking various groups for help with funding. Our $750 will pay for the conservation of a bone flute found at Tyuonyi and for a special case in which to store it.


Partnership Development, $1,000. Superintendent Koontz is convinced of the value of developing partnerships for mutual benefit. She is especially interested in approaching the local pueblos. She requested funds to put together a traveling show she can take with her on visits to potential partners.


OTHER NEWS

With payment of all our 2003 bills, we topped $197,000 in total grants to Bandelier. In 16 years, that isn't much per year. However, we have generated several hundred thousand dollars in matching or follow-up funding for Bandelier from the National Park Service, National Park Foundation, and several private foundations. Bandelier's base funding this year is almost $2,438,000. However, 88% of that total covers personnel expenses. Only $292,600 is left for essentials such as garbage collection, utility bills, upkeep, etc. Fee Demonstration funds (part of the money you pay at the entrance station) and grants provide the money that makes Bandelier a special place.


Lynne briefed us on a $1.6 million visitor center renovation project making its way through the planning and approval process. Of that, $400,000 of Fee Demonstration funding will be set aside for new exhibits. Rangers will move the present bookstore to what is now the theatre, leaving the current bookstore space entirely for visitor contact. A new room will be added to accommodate the theatre. The park also needs an updated video for visitors at an astonishing estimated cost of $150,000.


It's already a busy summer at the park. Workers are renovating Juniper Campground and replacing roofs on historic buildings in Frijoles Canyon. Sadly, two rangers specializing in graffiti removal must continually restore cavate ruins after vandalism. On the main entrance road, rangers are installing a concrete strip to protect the historic stone gutters built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps from damage during repaving. Road paving itself is delayed because no contractor responded to the first Requests for Bids. The second request resulted in only one over-budget bid.


Rangers are also busy planning for the future. The NPS requires that all parks submit updated Fire Management Plans by December 2004. One challenge for Bandelier is reintroduction of fire as a resource management tool. Ruins and artifacts continue to erode in Bandelier's pinyon-juniper ecosystem. Bandelier has experimented with and is proposing to do more precedent-setting erosion control in these areas by means of mechanical slashing of pinyon and juniper vegetation. The bark beetle infestation has complicated the plans. Bandelier is drafting an Environmental Assessment to consider opening for public use all the Cerro Unit (across State Road 4 from the cross country ski area).

Exciting times, we think. Best hopes to Bandelier for successful completion of these works.


THANK YOU Los Alamos National Bank and First State Bank for your continuing generous support.



Best wishes and thanks Dorothy Hoard, President, Board of Trustees.