Carlsbad Caverns' Operations Set to Move this Weekend
Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024
Carlsbad Caverns National Park superintendent John Benjamin announced today that although the visitor center rehabilitation project is not set to begin until mid-July, all park operations—ticket sales, bookstore, restaurant and gift shop—are moving into temporary trailers beginning Friday, May 18.
“We’re moving into the trailers almost two full months before the anticipated start of construction,” said Benjamin. “We timed the move so we could work out all the kinks in the system before Memorial Day weekend and the start of our busy summer season.”
Although the visitor center will be under construction and the park will operate out of trailers in the parking lot, there will be no interruption in park ranger-guided or self-guided cave tours, or the evening bat flight program. However, for safety and security during the renovation, the park entrance gate at Whites City will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., to accommodate May through mid-October visitors who stay for the evening bat flight, and from 6:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. the rest of the year.
The visitor center project, expected to take nine months to complete, includes (1) the renovation and rehabilitation of the existing 34,000 square foot visitor center; (2) new construction of adjacent restroom facilities and two-story elevator and stairway for staff access; (3) a new commercial HVAC and control system; (4) new electrical systems; (5) a new membrane roof; (6) a new fire sprinkler system; (7) new fire and intrusion alarm systems; and (8) all new exterior and interior finishes, including asbestos and lead paint abatement.
Completed in 1957, the visitor center serves as the single visitor contact and assembly point for everyone entering Carlsbad Cavern. Every infrastructure component of the building has exceeded its useful life and no longer functions effectively or efficiently. The project includes renovating the association bookstore, as well as the concession-operated restaurant and gift shop.
For more information, contact public affairs specialist Bridget Litten at 505.785.3024.
Did You Know?
In 2003, a park employee found a piece of a stone scraper within view of Carlsbad Cavern's entrance that goes back to Ice Age Indian hunters. In 2004, archeologists found fragments of two spear points of the Midland-style Paleo Indian projectile points of some 10,000 years ago.