2015 Annual Report
Since our founder and long-time president, Dorothy Hoard, died in March of 2014, it has been quite a year of adjustment for the Friends of Bandelier. Dorothy not only provided effective leadership to the Friends, but she also managed most of the big and little details of the operations of the group. Suddenly the other Board members had to find time to fit those tasks into our schedules, and we did so with varying degrees of success. Some things slipped through the cracks, but rest assured that the Board's commitment to the natural and cultural resources of Bandelier National Monument-and to Dorothy's vision of what we could accomplish for Bandelier-never changed.
Superintendent Jason Lott's commitment to Bandelier is a huge factor in helping the Board carry on Dorothy's work. Jason is as passionate about the park as he was when first arrived five years ago. Jason is full of great ideas and the energy to follow through. We are particularly please to assist with two of Jason's great programs, the Bandelier Conservation Corps and the Pueblo Youth Preservation Program (see details on page 3).
The addition of two new Board members has brought new energy to the group. Fresh from the Leadership Los Alamos Class of 2015, Eric Edmonds joined the Board in May. Eric brings to the Board a passion for the outdoors-he regularly hikes and cross-country skis at the park-along with thoughtful insights and a strong desire to support the park's activities.
Also, Dorothy's long-time friend Terry Foxx will join the Board this fall. Terry's strong connections with the Bandelier landscape-originating just before the 1977 La Mesa Fire and continuing through a distinguished career monitoring the post-fire recovery-make her an ideal Board member. But Terry has also served on several other non-profit boards and has a wealth of insights to help the Friends continue to carry out our mission.
The Friends received two large grants in 2014 that go a long way to the program support for Bandelier this year. We received a $5,000 grant to focus on trail improvements following the Las Conchas fire. This funding will support the Bandelier Conservation Corps. A $25,000 grant from the Wallace Genetics Foundation not only makes the Wilderness Ranger position possible but also the other important park programs.
In the four years since the Las Conchas fire, the landscape of Bandelier has continued to evolve. Once ashy plains painted in black and gray, the mesas and canyon are now dotted with green from rapidly growing oaks, aspens, and other fire-adapted species. Grasses and forbs, some that burst with colorful flowers when the time is right, cover much of the ground. The vegetation cover mitigates a large part of the runoff that produced flooding in the first years following the fire. Recovery seems slow, but it is relentless, and it is a fascinating process to witness.
In the coming year, Bandelier and the Friends will be putting together two centennial celebrations: the founding of the National Park Service and the establishment of Bandelier National Monument. It will be a great time to come for a visit-or many visits-so make plans to spend time at Bandelier. -Craig Martin
Dorothy Hoard Wilderness Ranger Position
Proclamation, February 27, 2014
In honor of our founder and dear friend, Dorothy Hoard, the Friends of Bandelier and Bandelier National Monument have established the Dorothy Hoard Wilderness Ranger Position, an ongoing seasonal post dedicated to engaging visitors in Bandelier's backcountry. This much-needed position will continue Dorothy's influence in the far reaches of the park. With the establishment of the Dorothy Hoard Wilderness Ranger Position, the Friends and the Monument honor Dorothy Hoard and sustain the legacy she has created.
The Friends of Bandelier are pleased to welcome to the Bandelier staff the first Dorothy Hoard Wilderness Ranger. Ranger Lee Ferrill will focus on getting visitors into the backcountry of the park, particularly visitors who might not otherwise venture outside of Frijoles Canyon. The wilderness ranger will be a seasonal post dedicated to engaging visitors in Bandelier's backcountry, leading hikes, greeting visitors in the Bandelier Wilderness, and answers question about the backcountry and its natural and cultural resources. See Jason Lott's State of the Park message on page 3 for more information.
Friends of Bandelier Grants for 2014-2015
Each year the staff at Bandelier submits a request for funding from the Friends to meet specific needs of the park that are not covered in its annual appropriation. About 90 percent of the Federal dollars go to staff salaries and benefits, thus the park looks to other sources for providing funds for special projects. For 2015, Bandelier has requested the Friends help with the following items.
Dorothy Hoard Backcountry Ranger ($20,000): As a memorial to the Friends of Bandelier founder Dorothy Hoard, the Friends funded a backcountry ranger position at Bandelier. (See page 1 for details.)
Rebuilding the Visitor Center Horno ($1,000): Bandelier requested support to move the horno from a flood-prone area to a more accessible location in the courtyard. The horno is used for demonstration projects for park visitors.
Photo Scanning for CCC Exhibit ($1,000): Bandelier requested funding for the scanning, printing and framing of historic pictures of the CCC that will be placed in the Visitor Center. These are mostly the large panoramic group shot photos of the entire CCC crews at Bandelier.
Pueblo Youth Preservation Program ($5,000): This funding allows Bandelier to contract with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps out of Taos to create a preservation crew to work in the park. The crew is made up entirely of Pueblo youth under the supervision of Pueblo crew leaders. The ten-week program will not only provide meandingful summer jobs to six young people, but will provide them with a direct connetion with their ancestors and with the landscape of Bandelier. The crew will be hands-on as they work on preservation and stabilization projects in the park.
Bandelier Conservation Corps ($5,000): Co-funded with the National Parks Foundation, this continuing program (now in its third year) brings together six local youth to live in the park and to provide maintenance on Bandelier's trails.
Superintendent Fund for Special Events ($2,000): This ongoing funding provides the park with dollars to provide food and drinks for public events and special meetings.
State of the Park
Jason Lott, Park Superintendent
Every year Bandelier becomes a new Park. This year, it's a wet and green one. From the substantial rains in July (2014) that brought us the thick grasses and sunflowers, through our winter of consistent snows, to the wettest spring that we've seen in years - and officially, we're out of the drought! For the first time in a decade, we haven't experienced the threat of high fire danger or had to consider closures for campfires in the campgrounds. But even this has its consequences, the invasive exotic cheat grass has exploded across the landscape, and our new abundance of rabbits has not fared well along the roadways…. Flooding is still a concern, and hopefully we'll see this threat diminish with the growth of grasses and forbs in the upper canyons.
The visitor experience has certainly been pleasant this year. The rains and clouds have kept the Monument cool, particularly for the mornings and evenings. There is also a cornucopia of wildflowers, the Monument is still green with new growth, and the wildlife is flourishing everywhere you look. It's a great time to take a nice long hike.
And in regards to hiking, this year we have hired our first Dorothy Hoard Wilderness Ranger, which is sponsored and funded by you, our Friends. Our new Wilderness Ranger is Lee Ferrill, who will be leading guided hikes into the Bandelier Wilderness each Saturday through mid-October. Lee will also be developing other wilderness programs, so keep checking in with our Visitor Center for what's new - don't be surprised if Lee comes up with some health programs for getting you out into our back-country.
Our Artist-in-Residence Program is also into its second year. A big thanks goes out to David Halpern (a Friend) who designed our program and was our first Artist-in-Residence. David is a well know photographer from Santa Fe, who led a series of photography tours for visitors this year, as well as preparing a new permanent CCC exhibit for the Visitor Center. This exhibit was funded through the Friends and should be installed very soon. Another big thanks also goes out to our Artist-in-Residence Selection Committee - David, Nancy Coombs, and Karen Henderson. Our new Artists-in-Residence are Philip Metcalf, Patricia Galagan, Shawn Skabelund, and Carolyn Florek. We're all looking forward to seeing their Bandelier art work!
Another success story, which has been annually funded and supported by the Friends, is our Bandelier Conservation Corps (BCC) which is celebrating its fifth year. This program, which takes youth from our local communities and pueblos, is the program that I'm most proud. Every year, this program closes at the end of Summer having made a substantial positive impact for these youth. It never fails that I'm contacted by parents stating how impressed they have been with the experience their children similar to the BCC, which has a focus on the trail system and conservation work within the park, the BPC has a focus on preservation, specifically the preservation of ancestral archaeological sites. The crew is composed of 6-7 youth from our surrounding pueblos, and the concept is to provide opportunities for these youth to make connections to their ancestors, to Bandelier, and to encourage careers with the National Park Service. As with the BCC, this program is being managed and funded in partnership with the Friends of Bandelier, the National Park Foundation, and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. In addition to a salary, all of these youth are receiving AmeriCorps scholarships that may be used for college or trade schools. These are two outstanding programs that only possible due to the funding and support of Friends of Bandelier - Good Stuff!
Other projects that you should see in near future that are sponsored by the Friends of Bandelier include a range of trail projects and improvements, the Fall Fiesta (September 5), Opera on the Rocks (September 26), Night Sky Programs throughout the summer, and construction of a new horno behind the Visitor Center.
Please know that the Friends of Bandelier is our most important partner. It is through your support that Bandelier is able to provide great services to our visitors, in particular, the special programs and projects that make Bandelier unique - Opera on the Rock, Fall Fiesta, and the Bandelier Conservation and Preservation Corps. Thank you, thank you, thank you!