Park Service is working to protect Petroglyph

  Dear HCN,


Your recent article on Petroglyph National Monument left out a great deal of information about actions the park is taking to deal with some of the issues raised by your coverage (HCN, 10/25/99). Cultural and natural resource protection in the park has greatly increased since it became a unit of the National Park System in 1990, despite the increasing pressures on the park from explosive growth in the community of Albuquerque. It is important to keep in mind that the majority of vandalism of the park's petroglyphs took place before the National Park Service began protecting and managing the park. Since then, the park has done an intensive inventory of the petroglyphs in order to better monitor and protect them, and has established an aggressive program to fight vandalism and graffiti.


Park staff have cleared literally tons of garbage from the park, have established regular ranger patrols of the park, have begun to eliminate most social trails from the Rinconada Canyon, have established a strong program of more than 100 volunteers to help the public understand this remarkable resource, and have involved the public and city partners in a thorough planning process to provide guidance for managing the park. The park management is also close to making public a new policy that addresses the problem of dogs.


In addition, erosion and watershed conditions in the park have improved because of reduction in livestock grazing and reduced vehicle use on unpaved roads. Expert hydrologists have visited the park regularly over the past nine years to help its staff design ways to protect its resources. The park plans to continue its efforts to restore watershed conditions and rehabilitate abandoned roads. While your article criticizes the park's efforts to mitigate erosion, the photo you use as an example depicts a natural process - that of a wash which had filled with blown sand over time being exposed again by heavy rains. This wash is an excellent place for a trail just because it is naturally "disturbed" by these cycles of deposition and erosion.


One result of the park's planning process and public input was the decision to build a small (20-car) parking lot at the mouth of the Rinconada Canyon. The parking lot was built to provide safe access to the canyon, eliminating a serious safety problem that existed when people parked on the side of the road in order to walk into the canyon. Hundreds of homes are only a short distance from the canyon, and people already had easy access to it prior to the construction of the parking lot.


As a result of a Memorandum of Understanding currently being negotiated with the city (which will allow the NPS to be the sole manager of the park), Petroglyph will receive a substantial budget increase. This will allow the hiring of two new interpreters to help visitors appreciate and understand the park; it will make possible the hiring of a new protection ranger to help keep the resource safe; and it has already included the hiring of a new maintenance person with expertise in trail planning and maintenance.


Finally, a meeting between NPS and National Parks and Conservation Association last month resulted in the park's commitment to address some specific concerns of the NPCA, including implementing a pilot program of guided tours in Rinconada Canyon at periods of greatest use, and encouraging visitors through signs and information kiosks to stop by the visitor center for information and orientation before touring the park.


Overall, while the HCN article accuses the NPS of poor resource management at Petroglyph, it provided almost no evidence that this is actually the case. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence as cited above that the NPS has worked hard to protect Petroglyph under some of the most difficult circumstances facing any NPS unit anywhere. The NPS considers it an honor to be trusted with the management of remarkable places like Petroglyph National Monument, and it is a responsibility we take very seriously. We expect to earn the public's trust at each and every unit of the National Park System, and are working hard to ensure that we have that trust not only in the community of Albuquerque, but with each and every person who cares about the wonders Petroglyph has to offer.





Karen P. Wade


Denver, Colorado





The writer is director of the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service.


High Country News Classifieds
  • PHILANTHROPY COORDINATOR
    Wyoming Wildlife Federation - collaborates with the Executive Director and staff to ensure the effective implementation of all philanthropic activities. https://wyomingwildlife.org/hiring-philanthropy-coordinator/.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    HawkWatch International is hiring an Executive Director to lead the organization. The next leader of this growing organization must have: 1. Enthusiasm for conservation, birds...
  • EVERLAND MOUNTAIN RETREAT
    Everland Mountain Retreat includes 318 mountaintop acres with a 3,200 square foot lodge and two smaller homes. Endless vistas of the Appalachian mountains, open skies,...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Home Resource is a non-profit community sustainability center. We work with, in, and for the community to reduce waste and build a more vibrant and...
  • COUNTRY ESTATE NEAR KINGS CANYON AND SEQUOIA PARKS
    Spectacular views of snowcapped Sierras. 15 miles from Kings Canyon/Sequoia Parks. 47 acres with 2 homes/75' pool/gym/patios/gardens. 1670 sq.ft. main home has 3 bdrm/1 bath....
  • BRN DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
    Borderlands Restoration Network 501c3 is hiring a full-time Development Director. Description and job details can be found at https://www.borderlandsrestoration.org/job-opportunities.html
  • GILA NATIONAL FOREST NEW MEXICO
    Beautiful off-the-grid passive solar near the CDT. 9.4 acres, north of Silver City. Sam, 575.388.1921
  • ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING MANAGER
    The City of Fort Collins is seeking an Environmental Planning Manager in the Natural Areas Department. The Department has an annual budget of approximately $13...
  • WEB DESIGN AND CONTENT MANAGER
    We are seeking an experienced designer to be the team lead for web development and digital media. Part creator and part planner, this person should...
  • CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
    at RCAC. See the full description at https://bit.ly/2WJ3HvY Apply at [email protected]
  • GRASSROOTS ORGANIZER
    The Utah Rivers Council is looking for an energetic individual with strong communication and organizing skills. The Grassroots Organizer works to ensure our campaigns are...
  • JOHN DEERE SNOW BLOWER 24"
    Newly refurbished and tuned. Older model, great condition. Gasoline engine. Chains on tires. Heavy duty for mountain snow. Call cellphone and leave message or email.
  • CARPENTER RANCH MANAGER
    Hiring a part-time ranch manager to live on The Nature Conservancy's Carpenter Ranch property in Hayden, CO. Responsibilities include: facility maintenance of historic ranch house,...
  • STRAW BALE, ADOBE, TIMBER FRAME, HEALTHY HOME, NEAR LA VETA PASS, CO
    unique custom home in Sangre de Cristo Mountains of CO near La Veta Pass, 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath, private gated park, two hours from...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KANIKSU LAND TRUST
    Kaniksu Land Trust, a community-supported non-profit land trust serving north Idaho and northwest Montana, is in search of a new executive director. The ideal candidate...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Flathead Lakers are seeking a dynamic, self-motivated and proven leader to be our next Executive Director (ED).
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Blackfoot Challenge, a renowned collaborative conservation org in MT, seeks our next ED.
  • COPPER CANYON MEXICO CAMPING & BACKPACKING
    10-day tour from Los Mochis airport, 2/nyts El Fuerte, train, 2/nyts canyon rim hotel, 5/nyts camping. 520-324-0209, www.coppercanyontrails.org.
  • STAFF ATTORNEY, ALASKA
    Earthjustice is hiring for a Staff Attorney
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    to lead an organization that funds projects in National Parks. Major gift fundraising and public lands experience critical. PD and app details @ peopleinparks.org.