Superintendent Jason Lott of Bandelier National Monument, just announced that the main Visitor Center area in Frijoles Canyon will be closed Thursday, May 24, for installation of a temporary bridge across Frijoles Creek.
This closure had originally been expected to occur today or tomorrow.
“The bridge is being brought from Michigan, and we now expect it to be ready to install on Thursday, May 24,” Lott said. “Other parts of the park, including the Tsankawi section and trails that begin at locations outside of the canyon, such as Burnt Mesa and Cerro Grande, will remain open for visitor use.”
Visitors may access the Main Loop Trail by way of the steep, 2-mile-long Frey Trail during the closure, but no facilities in the canyon will be available.
Installation of the temporary bridge across Frijoles Creek will involve a crane and three very large trucks: two to bring the 65-foot-long bridge halves, and one to bring the counterweights for the crane.
They will block the small parking lot, and along with the installation work, would pose serious safety concerns if visitors were present.
The road bridge that connected the main parking lot to the picnic area and backpacker parking had to be removed as part of the measures taken to protect the historic structures from flash floods following last summer’s Las Conchas wildfire.
The interim crossing will provide access for maintenance, service work, and public safety necessities, as well as overflow visitor parking until the shuttle bus service begins June 1. It is planned to be removed during the summer rainy season.
For more information, check the park website, www.nps.gov/band.