By Kevin Stillman,
Bandelier National Monument
As a result of the Conchas fire in the summer of 2011 and subsequent flooding in Bandelier National Monument, the trail system experienced severe damage.
The Monument’s trail work leader, Kevin Stillman, has been working on rebuilding and maintaining the trail system with the help of National Park Service trail crews, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crews and the Bandelier Trail Volunteers, which is a group consisting of Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter members and other local volunteers.
Over the course of the summer, the crews have worked on more than 16 miles of trails. The work consisted of clearing the trail corridor of brush, fallen trees, flood debris, and rock slides. Trail tread was repaired or rebuilt, stone retaining walls were built and in some cases reroutes were needed to connect missing trail segments.
Many miles of the backcountry trails were repaired. The Boundary Peak trail, the Mid-Alamo trail and several miles of the Frijoles Canyon trail were fixed. The Frijoles Rim trail was reopened after a big washout was fixed.
In 2016, the work will continue, starting when weather permits in the spring and continuing into the fall. The focus will be on the Frijoles Canyon trail, the Turkey Springs trail, the Burro trail, the Frijoles Rim trail and the Mid Alamo trail.
The trail system in Bandelier is open and available to hikers, with some trails being in better shape than others. From the loop trail near the Visitor Center to the 70 miles of backcountry trails, Bandelier National Monument is a wonderful place to hike and experience. A map of the Monument’s trail conditions can be found at nps.gov/band/planyourvisit/backpacking.htm.
Volunteers to assist in trail maintenance are always appreciated. If you would like to be a part of the Bandelier trail volunteers, contact Kevin Stillman at email@example.com.
Photos by Kevin Stillman