Fire Restrictions in Effect
Due to recent hot, dry, and windy conditions, the park is currently at very high fire danger. The following fire restrictions are in effect: No open fires are permitted anywhere within the park. Smoking is only permitted inside an enclosed vehicle. More »
Mesa Verde Announces Recovery Act Projects
Contact: Tessy Shirakawa, 970-529-4628
The National Park Service (NPS) announced today the nearly 800 projects across the country, totaling $750 million with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). For Mesa Verde National Park, in southwestern Colorado, this means over $14.6 million for six projects.
The funded projects include:
- Replacing waterline from the north boundary to Chapin Mesa
“We are extremely pleased with the funding of these projects that will strengthen the infrastructure of the park, and enhance visitor experiences,” stated Superintendent Larry T. Wiese. “These projects will certainly stimulate the local economy, and create new jobs, for many people – it will make a huge difference in Mesa Verde National Park.”
The project to replace the waterline from the park’s north boundary to Chapin Mesa replaces more than 5 miles of deteriorated water line that was installed between 1948 and 1950, including the line that hangs off and is exposed along the north escarpment cliffs. This water line provides all the drinking water and fire suppression water for Far View and Chapin Mesa, the primary visitor use areas in the park. There have been numerous breaks in the line over the years causing resource damage, water quality issues, and insufficient water flow for fire suppression. This will be an $11.5 million dollar project.
The eight photovoltaic systems on historic headquarters buildings will be a net metering system, saving the park over $20,000 per year in electrical costs, and reduce the park’s green house gas emissions and carbon footprint.
The popular Spruce Tree House trail will be rehabilitated to better meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Retaining walls will be repaired, trail pitch and slope will be corrected, and the trail surface will be restored. This project may cause intermittent closure of this trail.
The current open-air gas powered trams will be replaced with alternative fuel transit vehicles which will reduce fuel emissions, transport more people, experience fewer breakdowns, and enhance the visitor experience at Wetherill Mesa.
Replacement of the deteriorated water lines and upgrading of the Navajo Loop electrical system in Morefield Campground will both improve the services in that area and better meet current needs.
Mesa Verde also received Federal Land Highways Program projects for a total of $14 to $18 million. This will resurface the park road from the entrance station to Park Point, which is about 10 miles of road. The project will also do preliminary road work near the entrance in preparation for access to the park’s Visitor and Research Center.
All the projects announced today are long-standing priorities of the National Park Service and meet the criteria put forth in the Recovery Act: namely, that a project addresses the Department’s highest-priority mission needs; generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and creates lasting value for the American public.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on the recovery website and on http://www.interior.gov/recovery/nps.
Did You Know?
The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.