Old entrance sign for Bandelier. Courtesy/NPS
Bandelier National Monument has two special events this week including the park’s 99th anniversary Wednesday and three fee-free days over the Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 14, 15 and 16.
Feb. 11, 1916, then-President Woodrow Wilson used the power provided to him by the Antiquities Act to authorize a little-known, remote area in a little-known, remote state to be protected as Bandelier National Monument. In the intervening 99 years, this park has become one of the most popular in New Mexico, recognized for its beautiful canyons and mesas and for having the highest density of Ancestral Pueblo sites of any area in the National Park System.
In a typical year more than 200,000 visitors come to walk the trail to the cavates, hike out into the backcountry, camp, picnic, or wade in the creek. Pueblo people value the homes of their direct ancestors, protected and preserved within the monument.
For the 2015 99th birthday, the park will host a one-day birthday “party” with cookies at the Visitor Center through the day, historic photos of the park, and a special 1 p.m. walk. The easy walk will start from the Visitor Center, and doesn’t require signing up ahead or an extra fee.
Next year, 2016, Bandelier will celebrate the monument’s centennial with events throughout the year. Be sure to keep a lookout for announcements as the time gets closer.
The three-day Presidents Day weekend will be fee-free at Bandelier and all National Park Service areas nationwide, with no entrance fees being charged. In addition, at Bandelier, the bookstore will have a 15 percent discount on all items in the shop, and the Bandelier Trading Company gift shop will have almost everything discounted 10 percent. Depending on the weather, this can be a beautiful, relaxed time to visit Frijoles Canyon, before the summer crowds and after the really cold winter weather.
Usually Presidents Day focuses mostly on Presidents Lincoln and Washington, since it is close to their birthdays, but it actually honors all US Presidents. Visitors who enjoy Bandelier National Monument may want to give a nod to Woodrow Wilson, too, and to his use of the Antiquities Act.