2006 Bandelier National Monument Accomplishments
Submitted by Chief of Interpretation Lynne Dominy for Superintendent Darlene Koontz
2006 was another successful year at Bandelier. The 90th Anniversary events kept the park in the news and people from all over had a chance to appreciate the "timeless landscape and legacy" that is Bandelier.
With the increasing demands on the federal budget, the National Park Service is tightening its belt financially and looking for ways to become even more efficient. The park staff have been working to define the core operations of the park and to identify ways to be more efficient. New organization charts are being developed as a part of a plan scheduled to be fully implemented by 2010. This core operations reported will be completed later this year - stay tuned!
The administrative staff worked closely with our regional office to issue a public prospectus for the Bandelier concession contract in Nov 2005. All proposals were evaluating using specific criteria and the final selection was made in March of 2006. Bandelier Trading Company Inc.was selected to operate the merchandise & food/beverage services through March 2016.
To enable employees to participate in satellite training sessions, a new TEL training system was added in the parks training room. This interactive training tools enables the park to save money and time on travel and to maximize staff participation in off-site training sessions.
The park phones have really had some problems over the past few years. The park has maxed out the capacity of its outdated systems. So planning has begun for the replacement of the park-wide phone systems.
A special thanks to the Friends of Bandelier for all of their support with the 90th anniversary! Bandelier was able to offer a full range of park and community activities because of your support. Positive feedback from the park visitors and surrounding communities was overwhelming. The anniversary Pendleton blankets were a huge success as were the commemorative poster, t-shirts, pins, and coins sold by WNPA. Congressman Tom Udall showed his support for the park by speaking at the August 30 event. The outdoor lecture series hosted by UNMLA and the presentations at the Historical Society lectures were very well attended. The Bandelier art exhibit at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge was also very well received.
Some activities were so popular in 2006 that we will continue them into 2007. People were thrilled with the horno bread baking demonstrations - especially the ability to smell the aroma in the canyon and to taste it hot out of the oven. We hope to continue these demonstrations from April through October of 2007. The dance demonstrations were also very popular. Zuni did a fabulous series of dances - filling the canyon with the sounds of drums, songs, and eighty dancing feet and overwhelming everyone with the beauty of their dance regala. We hope to continue these dances on the holiday weekends this summer with funding from the Friends. The Los Alamos community was also very excited to see the park participating in the community parades and activities - so we will continue to participate in 2007. Due to the overwhelming response to the Fall Fiesta, especially from the cultural demonstrators, we will host the 2nd Annual Fall Fiesta on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007. This event brings all of our cultural demonstrators together to share their skills and knowledge with the public. In 2006, over 20 demonstrators came and the wait to get into the park was over one hour!
The other exciting news from Interpretation is that we spent all of 2006 finishing the designs for the new permanent exhibits. With the help of our Affiliated Pueblos, we have written all of the exhibit text (including Pueblo quotes and language translations in Zuni, Tewa & Keres), selected the Pueblo designs, created the color combinations, created the interactive elements, and selected a fabulous array of images. Sally King has spent the last 2 years photographing the park in all seasons so we had a wonderful collection of images to choose from. With funding from the Friends of Bandelier, we have also prepared all of the Pablita Velarde paintings for display and have commissioned many new pieces for the exhibits - including a Zuni migration mural, Zuni pottery, a Cochiti storyteller, and much more? These designs will go to the fabricator as soon as we begin the renovation of the visitor center (most likely in the fall of 2008).
A lot of 2006 was also spent working on Education projects. With funding from Parks As Classrooms (PAC), we offered a variety of teacher workshops and a special cultural demonstration program for schools. In the spring, over 5000 students participated in the opportunity to learn from a cultural demonstrator and to visit Bandelier. The Museum of Natural History also loaned their film crew to Bandelier to create a children's educational movie about exploring and protecting cultural and archeological resources in New Mexico (starring Bandeliers own Cecilia Shields and Cynthia Herhahn). Consultation was also completed with the affiliated Pueblos on the 4th grade ancestral pueblo teacher's guide so that it will be released to teachers in 2007. Two teachers worked for Bandelier in the summer as a part of the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program. Tammy Hinckley, a fifth grade teacher at Barranca Elementary, gave guided tours on the Main Loop Trail and created a natural history field trip for 5th grade teachers. Josh Waldman, the Pojoaque High School American history teacher, worked on an interactive DVD program linking 9 parks together in the telling of the Ancestral Pueblo story. He also began a "Teaching with Historic Places" lesson plan for field trips to Bandelier to study the CCC/WPA period. Another teacher will be hired in 2007 to introduce them to the NPS.
Filming of the new park movie continued in 2006. Oral history interviews were filmed to capture many different cultural perspectives. Time lapse photography and backcountry scenics were completed in October. The crews will return in 2007 to do aerial photography and more scenics. The film will be very different than the exhibits. Whereas the purpose of the exhibits is to provide context for the experience in Frijoles Canyon, the film will focus on the things that most people do not experience - the wilderness, the wildlife, the diversity of the park landscape, etc. Combined together, these two interpretive experiences will provide the visitor with a much better understanding and appreciation for the entire park.
For the past several years, Bandelier has been attempting to do a prescribed fire but the weather has not cooperated. In November of 2006, the fire management staff was able to complete a 500 acre prescribed fire around the mesa housing and juniper campground areas in the park. This was the first prescribed fire since Cerro Grande.
Fire staff will also be producing two annual publications about fire management activities in the park. The first of these publications was printed in the Los Alamos Monitor last summer and the next edition will be printed on March 18, 2007. These publications will also be available on the park website at www.nps.gov/band.
The big 2006 project for maintenance has been the completion of their equipment storage building on the mesa. This building will be used to relocate all of the heavy equipment out of the canyon and to protect it all from weather and sun exposure. This building will also be used for all major deliveries made to the park to eliminate big truck travel into the canyon. The concession operation will also have a storage unit in this building that is used for all of their big deliveries.
The maintenance staff also managed contracts for the completion of the rehab on Juniper
Campground Loop C and Building 13. Issues related to sewage capacity for Loop C have been
resolved. Building 13 has been converted into the park library and TEL training room instead of
the workout room.
Maintenance partnered with Rocky Mountain National Park to accomplish needed trail work on front country trails and portions of back-country trails. The Rocky Mountain trail crew now comes to Bandelier annually for 2-4 weeks to help us maintain our trails.
The draft EIS for ecological restoration project was completed and released to the public for comments. To view or comment on this document, visit the park website under the Management tab.
Working with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and the Santa Fe National Forest, the resource management staff placed 100 native Rio Grande cutthroat trout in Capulin Canyon creek. They also completed surveys of all suitable Spotted Owl and Peregrine Falcon habitat in the park. They collected shrub information from over 175 sites on the slopes of Cerro Grande to examine the influences of elk on vegetation succession.
In the event that the high elevation prescribed burn could occur, the archeology staff completed archeological clearance for Burn Unit 9E. This project consisted of site revisits to 36 sites, updating site forms and assessing hazard fuels and site condition. Hazard fuels were removed from seven sites prior to the prescribed fire treatments. This burn was delayed due to wet conditions in Unit 9E. Prior to the implementation of the lower elevation prescribed burn, the archeological staff completed archeological clearance for Burn Unit 40. This project consisted of site revisits to 82 sites, updating site forms, and assessing hazard fuels and site condition. Hazard fuels were removed from 49 sites prior to the prescribed fire treatment.
Working with PEEC, the resource managers involved over 300 students in migratory bird presentations and fieldtrips to Bandelier.
Resource management staff also completed three phases of a Tinware contract by Bettina Raphael, Museum Conservator, which included conservation treatment of 79 pieces plus 5 reproductions and a final report. Curation staff catalogued, cleaned, and photographed 54 tinware pieces during this period. They also completed conservation treatment, framing, and matting of 14 of Pablita Velarde paintings in preparation for a 2007 exhibit at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe (with gracious funding from the Friends of Bandelier).
- Over 8,700 campers used Juniper and Ponderosa campgrounds.
- Hikers spent over 1000 overnight stays in backcountry areas.
- Fee collectors sold over 2,000 National Parks passes and over 375 Bandelier passes.
- Fifty-two Special Use Permits (weddings, filming permits, etc) and business permits were issued.
- Following fuel reduction projects on Forest Road 289, almost 500 free firewood permits were issued and monitored.