CULTURAL AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (continued)
Although administrative responsibility for the monument reverted to the Gila National Forest in 1975, the cooperative agreement specified that the Park Service would "furnish technical assistance and/or restoration crews in the event of major need for ruins stabilization...."  As a result of this clause, stabilization procedures and programming at the monument have not changed.
In late 1977 or early 1978, for reasons of safety, a short length of wooden railing was built south of Room 27, where the trail abruptly dropped 40 feet on one side.  At the same time, another wooden railing was constructed to block access through a collapsed section of the west wall into Room 17, where visitors had been marring the original plaster with graffiti and prying at the vigas. 
In 1987, four weeks of additional stabilization work at the cliff dwellings was supervised by John Morgart, an exhibit specialist with the Southwest Regional Office of the Park Service.  The scope of work was based on stabilization inspections in 1979, 1983, 1985, and 1986, as well as on a 1985 report by Bruce Wachter, a contract geologist who had examined the deterioration of bedrock in and around the caves. The stabilizations nearly 20 years earlier of Morris and his crew were still relatively intact, and the new work was largely devoted to reducing the hazard of rockfall along the trail through the ruins and to implementing preventative maintenance, including the repair of basal damage to walls caused by rodents and visitors. 
In 1989, additional work was done to reduce rockfall hazard along the trail that entailed the removal from near Cave 6 of a five-ton rock slab that threatened to fall. Currently, projects to stabilize the prehistoric architecture and the caves themselves are scheduled according to need. 
Last Updated: 23-Apr-2001