Annual Report for 2008

We are delighted to announce that the National Park Service awarded Bandelier matching funds for their two Centennial Challenge Grant proposals. It turned out to be a brutal and rather sad competition. The Bush Administration asked Congress for $100 million to be matched dollar for dollar by the private sector. The National Park Service (NPS) rather quickly gathered non-federal guarantees in excess of $200 million to benefit its unit parks, leaving the Park Service to select only $100 million-worth of proposals. But, Congress only allocated $25 million. This left the NPS with the painful chore of choosing only one-quarter of the accepted proposals. Bandelier was one of very few to get two awards, and the only park in New Mexico to get any Centennial Grant at all. One grant, Modeling Sustainability at Bandelier, will develop a five-year plan and educational materials for energy efficient efforts dealing with 1930s facilities in a deep canyon. The other grant, Identifying Non-Traditional Park Visitor Needs at Bandelier, funds minority focus groups to determine ways to make parks more relevant for minority citizens, in BandelierŐs case, Hispanics and Native Americans. New Mexico State Parks Department is also a partner in this project. We expect these two projects to occupy the rangers for the remainder of the year. We have already transferred the FriendsŐ matching funds of $27,500 for sustainability and $12,500 for the focus groups to the park.

Chief of Interpretation Lynne Dominy and I went to the Centennial Inaugural Ceremony in Washington DC. Several congressmen from both parties spoke; they were very proud of getting the funding at all. Each one commented that the American public wants Congress to do something bipartisan and positive, and national parks always fits that category. Congress has now passed a bill guaranteeing $30 million (not $100 million) in matching funds until 2016. Considering the state of the economy, that is actually rather a generous bill.

Bandelier still has the cliff-hanger request before Congress for $3.75 million for remodeling the Visitor Center to update their interpretive exhibits. The request is in the PresidentŐs budget as #17 of 17 in NPS line-item construction requests for fiscal year 2009, which starts in October. Last year, the park purchased crafts for new exhibits, some of which we funded. Even without a remodeled Visitor Center (very badly needed), the craft items are a valuable edition to BandelierŐs collections, documenting Pueblo crafts at this point in time. As part of refurbishing, the rangers already installed new exhibit panels in front of the Visitor Center and on the back portal.

In 1994, the Friends provided matching funds for a pilot study called piñon-juniper restoration, which was actually in its second year at the time. Subsequently, Bandelier received funding to do a larger scale watershed study. In 2007, after many years of research on erosion, the rangers issued the Environmental Impact Statement to apply the restoration techniques throughout the parkŐs piñon-juniper woodland. At last, in 2008, work has begun! This last winter, Chief of Resource Management, John Mack, treated the easy parts along the entrance road and State Road 4 and has now moved into the backcountry. I call the treatment Ňslash and trash,Ó and would normally be horrified, except that it works so well. Actually, the roadside treatment does not look too bad. (Los Alamos National Laboratory is using the technique also.) Most visitors probably will not even notice. We will check on vegetation recovery and let you know how it progresses; good success really depends on the rains.

In other news of the FriendsŐ 2007 assistance to Bandelier, the Pablita Velarde exhibit went so well that the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture kept the paintings hanging for an extra month. Bread-baking sessions in the Frijoles Canyon hornos were great fun and holiday Pueblo dances were well attended. These programs are very important to Bandelier managers as part of on-going cultural demonstrations that encourage surrounding Pueblos to maintain their affinities with Bandelier. We are also funding Los Alamos High School web-whiz Colin MacArthur to find ways to make the Park ServiceŐs klutzy (technical term) web site more user-friendly and descriptive of BandelierŐs many and diverse activities. As usual, Bandelier always gets more than our moneyŐs worth from these young people.

This annual report is rather late, but we did not really have much to say until we knew the outcome of the Centennial Grants. We hope you find BandelierŐs adventures adventuresome enough to say tuned.

Our very best wishes and thanks to you all, dear Friends, for 2008. Dorothy Hoard, President, Board of Trustees