BANDELIER HIGHLIGHTS OF 2009
Brad Traver resigned as superintendent due to his wife's health problems. The National Park Service (NPS) selected Jason Lott to replace Brad.
The most significant event in many years was commencement of work on the remodel of the visitor center, its first structural work in 40 years.
Reports for the two 2006 Challenge grants for Focus Groups of Underserved Minorities were issued this year.
The Friends were able to help facilitate trail repair in Frijoles Canyon.
VISITOR CENTER REMODEL: Chief of Interpretation, Lynne Dominy, gave me a tour of the remodeling work at the Visitor Center, a historic building built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid 1930s. The building has now been gutted, but that work revealed serious structural problems perpetrated in the 1970s remodel. Doorways and viga holes were cut into the stone walls without proper reinforcement, water lines were tapped in without shutoff valves, none of the old blueprints correctly showed utility lines, etc. The NPS hired AAK De Los Santos Construction Co. of Tucson, specialists in historic restoration. They will do all the repairs using original stone blocks cut by the CCC and they document all the work. Then they will install the new exhibits. Hopefully, they will finish by June. (They were working in snow the day I was there; that stone building is cold!.) The NPS included this remodel on its Capital Improvement Projects list for 2009, but Bandelier benefited from the federal Stimulus program to help keep people employed.
FOCUS GROUPS: In 2006, the NPS instituted a program to match private donations for projects in the parks. Our Chief of Interpretation, Lynne Dominy, garnered two of these hotly competitive Challenge Grants for Bandelier. One was for conducting focus groups with underserved minorities, in our case, affiliated Pueblos and Hispanics. This year, the contractor, University of Arizona-Flagstaff Social research Laboratory, issued its reports. Both groups want increased special access and resource extraction,. Bandelier is working with the groups, especially with the Pueblos, to see what can be arranged, but are limited by federal laws.
The Focus Challenge Grant became more of a challenge than we expected. Pueblo leaders were easy to identify because the tribes are tightly structured socially. For local Hispanics, UofA staff had more problems identifying leaders who represented large portions of the populations; they were forced to ask for an additional $11,000 in fees. New Mexico State Parks was interested in the results and agreed to pay $10K. However, Lynne needed the money before the contract expired and asked us to lend the entire amount. We have not been reimbursed and with the financial shortfall facing the state, it seems unlikely that we will be. These funds were proceeds from sale of Pendleton blankets rather than your donations. In the end, Bandelier leaders were quite satisfied with the opportunity to interact with these underserved groups.
LYNNE DOMINY: When Lynne arrived as the new Chief of Interpretation in late 2000, she expected to stay at Bandelier for five years. Fate kept intervening with ever more interesting challenges, but now it is time for her to move on. Lynne and Brian, a security ranger at Bandelier, have accepted positions at Acadia National Park. Lynne will be Chief of Interpretation, but with a promotion. She is most excited about working with their Learning Center, which she hopes can become a model for other parks. Lynne has an impressive record of accomplishment at Bandelier. She established the Tuff Times newspaper, revamped the Junior Ranger Program to make it more family-friendly, established excellent relations with the affiliated Pueblos, spearheaded the 90th Anniversary events and the $3M Visitor Center remodel. Lynne served through the turmoil of seven superintendents; many people give her credit for holding the place together. The Dominys left March 1 with our very best wishes for continued success. Lynne will be a superintendent some day.
I received a really nice letter from the Los Alamos Que Pasa group. They were disbanding and donated their left-over stamps to the Friends. I wrote a thank you postcard but it bounced back to us; I presume they closed their PO box. If you know a Que Pasan, please thank them for a nice gesture
We also received a letter from the National Parks Foundation with a check. A donor had designated the Friends as recipient. Unfortunately, the letter didn't identify the donor. If this kind donor is a member, let me know so I can update your membership. Otherwise, thank you!