A member of the Bandelier maintenance staff works to clear the main trail of mud left by Sept. 12, 13, and 14 flash floods. Courtesy/NPS
Since the Frijoles Canyon section of Bandelier National Monument closed last weekend due to the effects of three flash floods in three days, park employees have been working hard to clean up the mud and damage.
On Thursday, Sept. 19, it was cleared sufficiently to allow the shuttle buses to start bringing visitors, and by Friday enough of the area was open to begin charging entrance fees. So far, shuttle buses are still the only way to come into the canyon, and with no bridges and so much erosion, the far side of the creek is still off limits. But the main archeological sites are available and lots of people are visiting and enjoying the trail, the almost-autumn weather, and the often dramatic effects left by the high water.
Other parts of the park, including Juniper Campground, the Tsankawi section, and trails including Burnt Mesa, Tyuonyi Overlook, and Cerro Grande, were not involved in the flooding and have been open all along.
For anyone wanting one more reason to come to the park, Friday, Sept. 28, Public Lands Day, is a fee free day. At Bandelier and the other National Park Service areas throughout the country, no one will need to pay entrance fees. Other charges, including camping, will still apply. It will be a good day to gather up family or friends, or just come on your own, and visit a National Park, Monument, Historic Park, or other of the more than 400 special places set aside in the National Park System to preserve our national heritage.
For general information about Bandelier National Monument, check the park website at www.nps.gov/band. For very current information follow the Tweets or Facebook page, or call the Visitor Center at 505-672-361×517.