The National Park Service (NPS) was established Aug. 25, 1916, to protect and preserve the then-young system of park areas being designated for the benefit and enjoyment of people throughout the country and visitors from around the world.
Now, in 2013, there are more than 400 areas that are administered by the NPS, ranging from battlefields to coral reefs, Yosemite to the Washington Monument, Everglades to Bandelier National Monument. The anniversary of that date is celebrated by having a Fee Free day, when there is no entrance fee to any National Park Service unit anywhere in the country.
At Bandelier National Monument, there also will be a special hike offered that day. The Trails Program Manager will be leading an easy morning hike along the park’s cross-country ski trail to a proposed site for an overlook of Frijoles Canyon. The hike will be less than three miles round trip, hiking time probably around two hours, and will provide great views of the upper canyon and a chance to see a pair of Ancestral Pueblo eagle traps. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Ski Trail/Cerro Grande trailhead (N.M. 4 Mile Marker 43.5.) Bring water, snacks and appropriate footwear and clothing for on and off-trail hiking.
Other upcoming activities at Bandelier include a morning walk at the park’s Tsankawi section at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20. Numbers are limited so call the Visitor Center at 505-672-3861 x 517 to sign up.
Friday night, Aug. 23, will be the next-to-last Nightwalk of this summer season. This silent walk begins at 8:30 p.m. among the dwellings in Frijoles Canyon; sign up is required, again, call the Visitor Center.
Saturday night, Aug. 24, will be an evening ranger talk, “Wild About Bandelier” at 8:15 p.m. at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater, and campers and non-campers are invited. That weekend the crafts demonstrators at the Visitor Center will be Priscilla Nieto, jewelry maker and Harvey Abeyta, flintknapper, both from Santo Domingo Pueblo.
Visitors to Bandelier need to stop at the White Rock Visitor Center to catch a free shuttle bus to the park, but vehicles are welcome to drive directly to the park headquarters area after 3 p.m. each day. Information about other events and ongoing activities is available by visiting the Bandelier National Monument website at www.nps.gov/bandor, the park Facebook page at BandelierNPS, or calling the Visitor Center at 505-672-3861 x 513.