Accomplishments of the Friends of Bandelier 1987 through 2006

Since our beginnings in 1987, the Friends of Bandelier have contributed almost $224,000 to Bandelier National Monument. This is indeed a fine record of accomplishment. The 1980s were a time of severe funding cuts for the National Parks. Without timely assistance, many projects would never have been done at all. A number of our projects received additional government or private funding because we demonstrated local support. We often enhance our effectiveness by sharing expenses with other entities. Here is a list of our accomplishments.


Approximately one-third of our grants have been directed to archeological studies. This is only fitting because Bandelier National Monument was set aside as an archaeological preserve. From 1988 through 1991 the National Park Service (NPS) conducted surface surveys to catalogue the archaeological sites in the monument. Concurrently, Dr. Timothy Kohler of Washington State University (WSU) conducted limited excavations at selected sites. Tim's research interest was determining the reasons the ancient inhabitants evolved from living in isolated farmsteads to building large pueblos of up to 500 rooms. The NPS survey was designed to cover at least 50 percent of Bandelier's 32,000 acres. Only 41 percent had been surveyed when time and money ran out in 1991, in part because the surveyors found many more archaeological sites than they expected.

After the NPS survey ended, the Friends continued to grant funds for in-house surveys, reports, and special studies. In 2004, Dr. Kohler edited a book, Archaeology of Bandelier National Monument, with several chapters based on research the Friends supported. In 2005, the Friends granted money to the School of American Research to help publish a book for general audiences entitled The Peopling of Bandelier. We are delighted that the book contains many findings based on work the Friends supported.

Bandelier received grants from the NPS and the Getty Foundation for the Vanishing Treasures program to restore and conserve the spectacular cavate houses in Frijoles Canyon. Project leader Angelyn Rivera requested funds from us to photograph the entire mile of cavates from the opposite rim. Unfortunately, we were out of money. But in stepped the Charlotte Nicholas Gray/ Edward and Elizabeth Nicholas Memorial Fund to save the day. Steve Tharnstrom of Albuquerque took the photos; he claimed the view compensated for the rather rough working conditions. One set of photos is in the Bandelier archives; rangers sent the other set to the National Archives attributed to the Nicholas Memorial.

Surveys, excavations, equipment                 $53,147.09
Studies, publications, documentation            $26,870.52


An important part of the NPS mandate is to interpret the resources of the park for the public. Because our donations come from members of the public, the Friends have consistently provided support for the Interpretive Department at Bandelier. In addition, because no federal funds can be spent on food, we are often asked to host receptions, parties, and meetings. We try hard to support the rangers with awards, training, and trips to professional meetings. For two years when visitation was especially heavy, the superintendent asked us to pay wages for parking attendants in order to free up the rangers to do their regular work. In addition, we’ve printed many items, from editions of the Bandelier newspaper to stickers commemorating the Wilderness Act of 1964..

The current exhibits in the Bandelier Visitor Center are over 30 years old and badly need updating. The rangers have drafted plans for remodeling the Visitor Center and create new exhibits. They are in line for construction money, but massive government debt delays the project. The Friend provided funds to conserve and repair archival works that may be used in exhibits, and we commissioned modern works for exhibits now and Bandelier’s permanent archives. We funded restoration, conservation, and framing of paintings by famed New Mexico artist Pablita Velarde. Sadly, Pablita died in January 2006 before she could see her work revived.

Bandelier National Monument was established in 1916. Because 2006 was its 90th birthday, the rangers threw an all-year party. The Friends helped in myriad ways: we sponsored demonstrations; printed schedules, stickers, invitations, banners, and posters; sponsored raptor demonstrations and the Green Chili Garage Band for Earth Day. In addition, the rangers designed a 90th Anniversary Commemorative Blanket for production by Pendleton Mills. The Friends held a highly successful fundraiser; the blankets sold out in nine months and are now a collectors’ item.

Museum Sculptures                         $10,800.00
Visitor Center Desk                        $2,646.00
PC projector                               $2,000.00
Frey Memorial                                $950.00
Replica pottery                               $80.00
Peopling of Bandelier book                 $5,000.00
Printing                                  $15,511.33
Supplies                                   $3,021.65
Training & awards                          $2,942.63
Services                                   $6,501.35
90th anniversary items                     $3,760.03
Conservation of Pablita Velarde paintings  $4,136.67

Pueblo Arts and Crafts

Bandelier administrators place special emphasis on relations with the northern New Mexico pueblos, whose ancestors lived in or used what is now the monument. An important program during the summer is the demonstrations by Pueblo craftspeople. The Friends shared this funding with the bookstore management and the concessionaire at Bandelier. In addition to supporting the demonstrations, the Friends help buy representative pieces from the craftspeople for the Bandelier archives. Think what a treasure these artworks will be for our (and their) descendants!

Pueblo Crafts Demonstrations                   $14,621.60
Purchase: Ambrosio Toya Moccasins (Jemez)          $75.00
Purchase: Florence Naranjo pottery                $185.00
Purchase: pottery                                 $175.00
Purchase: Florence Browning pottery (Santa Clara) $200.00
Purchase: Gabrielita Nave sash (San Juan)         $225.00
Purchase: Silvia Quiver dance kilt (San Felipe)   $200.00
Purchase: Arnold Herrera Drum (Cochiti)           $250.00
Purchase: Lonewolf pottery                        $130.00
Purchase: Leon Roybal manta (San Ildefonso)        $90.00
Purchase: Gary Roybal moccasins (Santa Clara)     $225.00 

Resource Management

The 1990s were a time of advances in computer technology, which make possible resource management and tracking capability undreamed of even a decade earlier. The Friends of Bandelier have contributed to this revolution on behalf of Bandelier, including Global Positioning System (GPS) units and Geographical Information System (GIS) supplies. The GPS units have speeded up backcountry work more than any other technology ever invented. We’ve provided money to hire stonemasons to repair flagstone paving, and Student Conservations Associates to patrol the wilderness, help with fire management planning, repair trails, and upgrade GIS maps. We’ve hired students from local pueblos to help with repair and stabilization of archaeological sites. A generous memorial donation allowed us to buy wood to replace aging trail signs in the wilderness.

GPS units and supplies      $18,157.00
Maintenance and repair       $8,200.00
Stereo Microscope              $750.00
Video Camera                 $2,000.00
Accessible water fountains   $3,000.00 


Only a few acres in Bandelier are developed. The remaining 32,000 acres are wild lands, as much a treasure as the archaeological sites embedded in it. Over 23,000 acres are in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Bandelier staff constantly studies, surveys, evaluates, GPSs, GISs, and worries over this irreplaceable treasure. The Friends help where we can.

Greenhouse facility supplies                  $5,000.00
Pinyon-juniper Restoration Study              $4,800.00
Ecological technician (Jim McGrath)           $4,000.00
Butterfly, arthropod identifications          $5,500.00
Housing, Park Flight Volunteer                  $800.00
Fire Management SCA assistant                  $3215.00
Barbecue groceries for Colorado Conservation     $93.76

Handicapped Access

The Friends want EVERYONE to enjoy and appreciate our beautiful park. In times of tight funding we were able to help the rangers welcome handicapped visitors. Special thanks to Mary Pettit Venable for funding the industrial strength wheelchair. She knew firsthand the difficulties a handicapped person faces in the world. In reality, the accessible features help more than the handicapped. Rangers lend wheelchairs to people bothered by the high altitude. Mothers with children in strollers appreciated the ramp (now replaced with permanent flagstone because ours demonstrated proof of need). Anyone carrying a load can use the spring-loaded doorknobs that can be opened with an elbow.

Grants for Handicapped Access:
Wheelchair                      $640.00
Telephone Device for the Deaf   $443.30
Handicapped Ramp              $1,625.74
Campsite Upgrades             $2,100.00
Campground Restroom Doorknobs $1,500.08
Braille Labels for Touch Table  $106.50


In response to years of flagrant abuse (remember those notorious three-martini lunches), Congress passed a law that no federal money could be used to purchase food. While one can appreciate the intent of the law, it is hard on agencies like the park service. Often administrators pay for refreshments from their own pockets. The Friends have been happy to fund refreshment and flowers for special events, such as receptions for artists Pablita Velarde and Helmuth Naumer, surviving members of the Civilian Conservation Corps for the 75th Anniversary of the CCC, the annual party for Bandelier’s treasured volunteers, and the former Coffee-with-a-Ranger program.

We occasionally came to the rescue: Superintendent Roy Weaver once gave us a panic call; he had invited leaders from all New Mexico’s pueblos to determine who had ties to Bandelier. Roy had catered lunch but forgot that the park service couldn’t pay for it, so we were happy to. Chief of Resources John Mack called to ask if we could pay for groceries for a barbecue. The boys from the Colorado Conservation Corps came down to help with chores for reconstructing the talus houses in the cavate ruins. They did a fine job and the rangers wanted to say “thank you.”

Coffee-with-a-Ranger         $2,052.65
VIP Parties, receptions      $1,245.40
Barbecue for Colorado CC        $93.76
90th Anniversary Celebration $1,667.70

We seldom talk to a ranger who doesn’t say “thank you” to the Friends of Bandelier.

Copyright 2000-2006 © Friends of Bandelier*