Scenic Loop Road Closed
The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to flood damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect access to the visitor center or the cave.
Rattlesnake Springs Area Closed
Rattlesnake Springs area will remain closed through the weekend (9-28-14) due to hazardous road conditions and downed trees caused by torrential rains.
All Camping Suspended Until Further Notice
All camping in the park has been suspended until further notice due to flood damage on backcountry roads and trails.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Superintendent Retires
“I never thought much about a career in the NPS growing up,” Benjamin said recently, reflecting on his 45 years in the Park Service. It wasn’t until young adulthood when he visited the caverns with several Air Force buddies, that the idea of a career working in the national parks was sparked.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in resource management and a master’s degree in forestry from New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University, Benjamin began his NPS career at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah in 1968 as a park naturalist. After three years there, he transferred to Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada to work in parks law enforcement. After six years on horse and boat patrol (he also became a certified scuba diver), Benjamin transferred with his family in 1977 to Glacier National Park in Montana, where he served as the assistant wilderness specialist, a post he called “the best park ranger job in the entire service.”
In 1981, Benjamin became a district park ranger at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Eight years later, he transferred to Grand Canyon National Park as a district ranger.
In 1991, desiring a change of pace from his string of high-desert postings, Benjamin and his family moved to the East Coast, where he became deputy superintendent at Boston National Historical Park and Boston African American National Historic Site. “Boston was a spectacular place and we enjoyed being part of the tremendous history that was embodied there,” he said.
The Benjamin’s returned to the Southwest in 1996 when he served a five-year stint as superintendent of Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, companion parks in the Texas Panhandle.
Before coming to Carlsbad Caverns in 2004, Benjamin served as deputy superintendent at Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida.
“I’ve enjoyed just about everything in every job I had,” Benjamin said. “The best things were to see folks I had faith in and helped in their early years who blossomed into true leaders and have done great things for the Park Service and the American people. It was like raising kids and watching them succeed, there are few things better in life.”
In retirement, he and his wife, Deborah, plan to eventually to move to Arizona to be closer to their son, John.
Looking back on his 45-year career, Benjamin said, “I’d like to be remembered as a person who tried, who failed many times and made numerous mistakes, but who kept on trying."
Did You Know?
The limestone rock that holds Carlsbad Cavern is full of ocean fossil plants and animals from a time before the dinosaurs when the southeastern corner of New Mexico was a coastline similar to the Florida Keys.