November 2003

The new superintendent at Bandelier arrived for duty on September 29. She is Darlene Koontz, formerly superintendent at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana. Darlene is a career Park Service ranger who worked her way up through the ranks, primarily at National Park units in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. She was an instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and worked with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in Washington DC. Staff at Bandelier appreciate her Washington, DC experience and her experience as a rank and file ranger, so she can understand their needs. As superintendent, Darlene is also on the Board of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Her working ranch experience at Grant Kohrs should serve well there. Darlene is enthusiastic about the new job; we all hope she stays a long time. What Bandelier needs is administrative stability!!

Each autumn we look back to see how our grants fared. Here is the list for the 2003 season:

Flagstones for native plant garden, $1,000. The plan is to replace the bluegrass lawn in the patio behind the Visitor Center with flagstone and incorporate a garden of native plants into the design. Unfortunately, Chief of Maintenance Vito Spinale hasn't found a source of dark purplish flagstone to match that used in the Visitor Center. The stone he can easily get is too bright; it clashes with the mellow tone of the historic building. In the meantime, Chief of Interpretation Lynne Dominy is working with Joe Madison's biology class at Pojoaque High School. The students are designing the garden featuring plants used by the ancient inhabitants and pueblo people. They should have most of the perennials in this autumn and have seed collected for annuals to grow in greenhouses for next spring. Hopefully, Vito will find that flagstone by then. Although we didn't buy flagstone, Lynne asked us for a trade. Bandelier is beginning the process for an Environmental Impact Statement for their pinyon-juniper restoration project. By law, this is a public process and public meetings have to be advertised. Ads in the Santa Fe New Mexican are quite expensive, but non-profits get half price. So we bought the ad and Lynne will buy the flagstone with her ad money.

Park-wide Newspaper/Cultural Awareness Pueblo Crafts $3,000. This year was the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps. We hope you noted the events listed in the paper and had the chance to attend some. The Park Service and Bandelier had very nice commemorative events. The local CCC fellows really enjoyed the ceremonies and were delighted to receive well-deserved recognition. We hope you also had the opportunity to watch a craftsperson from a nearby pueblo demonstrates in the patio behind the Visitor Center.

Backcountry SCA $2,500. This grant is a sad sign of the times. Homeland security precautions require Bandelier to rotate its protection rangers to high profile parks like the Statue of Liberty and Yosemite to guard against terrorists. Not many protection people are left to patrol Bandelier. Our money pays a member of the Student Conservation Corps to stay in the backcountry as a stand-in ranger. Megan McAlonis, 20, from Wrightsville, Pennsylvania arrived on August 10, and will work until October 31. Her background is in horticulture and landscaping, with extensive outdoor experience. Megan is stationed at the Base Camp cabin in Capulin Canyon for 10 days, followed by 4 days off. She patrols the backcountry, both on and off trails, checking as many backcountry archaeological sites as possible. She contacts and assists backcountry users, provides roving interpretation of the park's resources, educates users on Leave No Trace backcountry ethic, checks trail conditions and does minor trail work, is available for search and rescue as necessary, keeps the Visitor Center updated on water conditions, records wildlife sightings and repairs boundary fences. Megan also assists research crews working in the backcountry doing vegetation surveys, archaeological site surveys, wildlife surveys, etc. Megan already assisted in a medical emergency. Quite a job!! Lynne said that if we didn't fund the position, there would be no one out there. Chief Ranger Carl Newman and Patrol Officer Dale Coker were very grateful for the help and asked me to thank the Friends profusely. We have funded several SCA positions in the past. These are bright, hard-working, overachieving college students or recent graduates who always perform far beyond the call of duty. Lynne says that the National Park Service hires many of its new employees from its SCA pool.

Vanishing Treasures Photography Project, $5,080. As part of the Vanishing Treasures Project, Angelyn Rivera wanted to photograph the entire cavate area from near the entrance road to Ceremonial Cave. The only previous work is a set of site drawings by Kenneth Chapman from the 1910s. We didn't have enough money for the entire job, so Angelyn was negotiating with the photographer to scale back the project. At that moment, we received a memorial donation from long-time members William and Janet Cox in honor of his aunt, Charlotte Nicholas Gray. Bill asked that the donation be used for the photography project. Charlotte's brother and sister-in-law, Edward and Betty Nicholas, had been charter members and generous donors to the Friends of Bandelier, so I suggested setting up a Charlotte Nicholas Gray/Edward and Betty Nicholas Memorial Fund. Bill was in contact with his cousin O'Brien Nicholas Young (Edward and Betty's daughter), who also made a generous donation to the fund. In the end, thanks to these caring people, Angelyn acquired two sets of negatives with contact prints-one set for the Library of Congress-and two sets of prints, one an accordion foldout over six feet long. All are labeled with the name of the memorial fund. Bill lives in Illinois and O'Brien in California, but both have fond memories of trips to Bandelier. Steve Tharnstrom of Albuquerque did the photography. When I commented that photographing for 2.5 miles along the rim of Frijoles Canyon seemed rather arduous, Steve said the view more than made up for the working conditions. djh

I'm sorry to report that Ron Schultz resigned from the board and moved to California to pursue his creative arts career. All the best, Ron.

THANK YOU, First State Bank, for reproducing our newsletter.

Dorothy Hoard, President, Board of Trustees