Friends of Bandelier Newsletter
May 19, 2010
Dear e-Friends of Bandelier.
Spring is here at last, and with it comes our grants to Bandelier for
the 2010 season.
The BIG project at Bandelier is the Visitor Center
remodeling. The work is coming along well and the rangers expect
construction to be finished in August. Superintendent Jason Lott has
asked the Friends to help support a Grand Re-opening party. Plans
haven't been formalized yet, so Jason doesn't know how much funding
The historic CCC building needed many structural
repairs, but now looks sound. The remodel includes a new theater
building. When we toured in April, construction was well along; the
theater will be quite spectacular! The park has also commissioned a
new movie for the theater. New exhibits were developed in
collaboration with artists from affiliated Pueblos; they are looking
forward to completion too. We expect everything to be simply grand.
The park also received stimulus money for maintenance
and upgrades at Juniper Campground. It will be closed all summer,
but nicer when it opens again.
Archaeological Survey: $6600. The rangers at Bandelier will continue
their archaeological inventory of surface sites during the summer of
2010. The areas to be inventoried consist of small tracts scattered
throughout the park that have never been surveyed because of their
isolation. The four-person survey crew will consist of two
experienced archaeologists, a student archaeologist and a beginning
student intern. Jason requests that we cover the cost of the
beginner. This position is at the GS-3 level, which pays the
individual $10.46 an hour. He estimates the cost at $2,200 per month
or $6,600 for the three-month field season. This will allow the
student to gain on-the-ground field experience in inventory
techniques, artifact analysis, field mapping, and GIS database
analysis. Having an additional member will also enable the crew to
cover more acreage.
The archaeological surface survey of Bandelier began in
1987. Bandelier's archaeologist, Rory Gauthier, expects to complete
the survey within three years. Eventual coverage will include only
about 85 percent of the monument. Rory says his data indicate that
the original inhabitants didn't utilize the sheerest cliffs of
Bandelier's canyons much!
Wildlife Program Support: $2500. The wildlife program needs field
assessments of eighteen (18) game exclosures that were installed
eight years ago. They are designed to measure differences in the
composition of vegetation inside and outside the structures due to
browsing by elk and deer. The exclosures consist of 8-foot chain link
fencing with a barbed wire cap. Many have suffered damage over the
years from falling trees, weather, and other impacts. The assessor
will determine the damage at each location so the rangers can plan
the repairs. Staff needs to resume vegetation monitoring to produce
data relevant to the park's pending General Management Plan. The
Wildlife Program is in the process of seeking funding to continue
vegetation monitoring at the exclosures.
Liability Insurance for Crew Chief: $250. This summer the park will
establish the Bandelier Conservation Corps, a new program that the
rangers hope to make permanent. The corps will perform trail and
maintenance work in the park. Personnel will consist of an NPS crew
chief, assistant crew chief, and six high school students from local
communities, all of whom will be NPS employees.
This program consists of high school students
participating in overnight trips into the Bandelier Wilderness and to
Rocky Mountain National Park. Superintendent Lott wants to provide
the crew chief with liability insurance. By NPS policy, the park can
only pay half of the cost, with the other half being the
responsibility of the policy holder. Usually, only superintendents
and law enforcement officers, whose salaries are much higher than
that of a crew chief, use this insurance. Jason requests that the
Friends assist with the chief's half of this expense.
Cerro Grande 10-Year Newspaper Insert: $2,152.41. To acknowledge the
tenth anniversary of the devastating Cerro Grande Fire that swept
through Los Alamos on May 10, 2000, Bandelier produced a newspaper
insert explaining their current fire management program. Since (and
because of) Cerro Grande, local fire-fighting agencies established a
central location with all equipment needed to combat wildfires. They
now have interagency agreements allowing them to assist each other
without the bureaucratic delays that hampered the response to the
Cerro Grande Fire. For example, in 2000 there was no way to pay fire
fighters from other agencies to help fight fires!
The interagency firefighters are justly proud of their
handling of the 2009 San Miguel lightning fire in the southern part
of the Bandelier wilderness. They let it burn. They had crews on
site to keep an eye on the fire and keep it out of Capulin Canyon.
The fire cleaned out years of deadfall and skeletons of pinyon trees
killed by bark beetles. There are some video clips from helicopters
on Bandelier's website http://www.nps.gov/band/parkmgmt/
firemanagement.htm. Firefighters can't let a fire burn where it
threatens property, but they plan to let natural fires burn wherever
Copies of the fire insert were distributed locally by
our newspaper, the Los Alamos Monitor. I wanted to send a copy to
all our out-of-town supporters, but not enough were printed. I've
asked our webmaster, Laurie McGavran, to put the insert on our
website. I do have some extras and would be happy to mail a hard
copy to anyone who is interested. I have a PDF file that I can e-
mail to you. It is only 660 KB.
The rangers plan to issue their regular newspaper, the Tuff Times,
later in the summer to showcase the remodeled Visitor Center. We will
make sure our donors receive a copy.
It is an interesting time at Bandelier. Some of you may have heard
that there are movements afoot to establish a Manhattan Project
National Monument headquartered in Los Alamos and to transfer the
Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service. We
haven't heard of the status lately, but Congress is pretty busy with
other things this season.
Very best wishes and a BIG THANK YOU for your support.