By Chris Judson
BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT
On February 11, 1916, then-President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating a new park out in a largely unknown area of the largely unknown State of New Mexico. This year marks the 102nd birthday of Bandelier National Monument, which, with about 200,000 visitors a year, is not nearly as unknown now as it was in 1916. It’s not exactly isolated out in the wilds of New Mexico any more either, since it has two more National Park Service areas, the Valles Caldera National Preserve and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, as neighbors. To celebrate the 102nd, there will be cookies at the Bandelier Visitor Center starting at 1:00 p.m.
Also in February, weather permitting there will be a Star Party on the evening of Saturday, February 17, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater. In the parking lot there will be giant telescopes for stargazing, and a campfire, hot chocolate, spiced cider, and movies in the amphitheater. Campers and non-campers are welcome; be sure to dress warmly!
And Bandelier’s participation in the Year of the Bird continues. The park’s choice for the February bird is sandhill cranes, since many flocks fly over Frijoles Canyon each year on their way north from the Bosque del Apache, filling the canyon with their wild calls. The special bird activity for February will be the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 16-19, with details to be announced soon.
For more information about Bandelier National Monument, check the park website at www.nps.gov/band or the Facebook page at BandelierNPS, or call the Visitor Center at 505-672-3861 x 517.