By Chris Judson
BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT
In late October, a portion of the Main Loop Trail in Bandelier National Monument was closed for safety during a 3-day operation in which more than 150,000 pounds of dirt and rocks were helicoptered to the Frey Trail for use in trail reconstruction. This project will continue on Monday, December 4, weather permitting, and is expected to last 4-6 days. This part of the project is planned for about 225 loads of construction materials, at about a thousand pounds per load, carried by transport bags on a sling under the helicopter. The dirt will be used to fill in worn tread on the trail, while the stones are for use in the rockwork along the way.
Helicopter sling operations require strict safety measures, which will be in effect from 6 AM on Monday, December 4, through the completion of this part of the work on or before
Saturday, December 9. During that time the Main Loop Trail will be closed from the northwest edge of Tyuonyi Pueblo through the northwest end of Long House. The part of the Nature Trail which parallels Frijoles Creek between the creek and the Main Loop Trail will also be closed. The small cavates on the cliffs just above Tyuonyi, the ones with the short ladders, will not be available during this time. Alcove House will be open, as will Juniper Campground, the Visitor Center, and trails in other parts of the park.
The Frey Trail, the historic trail leading from Juniper Campground to the bottom of Frijoles Canyon, will be closed from the point where it crosses the maintenance road, on to the bottom of Frijoles Canyon. It will reopen when it is again safe for visitor travel. Closing the trails and surrounding area is a formal Area Closure, under the provisions of 36 CFR 1.5(a). Anyone with questions should call the Visitor Center at 505-672-3861 x 517. When the trail reopens, it will be announced on the park Facebook page and Twitter, both at BandelierNPS, and the closure notice on the park website, www.nps.gov/band, will be removed.