Saturday March 9, search and rescue personnel found a missing hiker in good condition after she spent a freezing night hiking through difficult terrain in and adjacent to Bandelier National Monument.
The Carrolton, Texas woman had been searching for the buried treasure of multimillionaire Forrest Fenn.
The search and rescue operation involved three aircraft, dog teams and more than 40 volunteers and staff from the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, New Mexico Search and Rescue, Los Alamos Police Department and the Los Alamos Fire Department.
“Before you get your shovels out and head our way, you should know something very important: personal prospecting, digging, burying things and damaging the national treasure of national parks is a federal offense,” Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said. “Come instead to experience the real treasures of wilderness and cultural history that Bandelier has to offer. Penalties for damaging resources can reach $20,000 and two years imprisonment in addition to paying for the cost of repairing those resources. Do not dig in National Parks and Monuments.”
Bandelier National Monument contains 27,000 acres of protected wilderness, 72 miles of backcountry trails, as well as the renowned archeological sites of Frijoles Canyon, which were built and carved out of bare rock by the Ancestral Pueblo People whose descendants still live in modern day pueblos along the Rio Grande and at Zuni.
The national monument is also the site of a National Landmark District containing the largest collection of buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
“Your National Parks and Monuments already belong to you,” Lott said. “The open air, the animals, the plants, and the beautiful archeological and historical sites are here to be enjoyed, and it is our job as park rangers and scientists, teachers and even administrators to protect them and help you enjoy them. Come visit Bandelier for all it has to offer.”
Visitors to Bandelier can enjoy the park’s “treasure” by participating in ranger-led programs and hikes, following self-guided tours, participating in events such as National Park Week in April, or Opera on the Rocks and Fall Fiesta, or people who want to help the endless work of caring for the parks can volunteer in a variety of ways.
A volunteer Site Steward program is being developed at Bandelier to assist in the monitoring, protection and interpretation of the park’s fragile archeology and ecosystem.
About Bandelier National Monument – More than 100 National Park Service employees care for this treasure of Ancestral Pueblo culture and natural beauty, and work with communities throughout the region to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov/band or find BandelierNPS on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.