Pecos NHP partnering with the University of Pennsylvania to Study the Affects of Weather and Climate on Adobe

Pecos NHP is beginning a three year project working with the University of Pennsylvania to better understand the affects of weather and climate on the adobe walls in the church and convento and to help develop new techniques to better preserve the site. As part of this study three lime lapse cameras mounted on tri-pods have been set up throughout the convento. The cameras will record changes to walls the next year, including crack formation, spalling, and loss of mud caps, and the effects of precipitation. The information will be compared with climate data from the parks weather station to develop a detailed picture of how the walls erode and how well our preservation treatments are performing. This project is one example of how Pecos NHP is using science and technology to preserve our fragile earthen resources for future generations.

Digital Access Provided to Historical Panoramic Photographs from NPS Lookouts

History enthusiasts, the tech-savvy, and national park fans will all enjoy a new section that has been added to the National Park Service Fire and Aviation website that explores a little-known NPS story. "Panoramic Photographs from NPS Lookouts" focuses on an enterprise that began more than 75 years ago through a photography project from lookout points at 200 locations across the country for the purpose of map-making for wildfire detection. There has been recent recognition of the importance of these photographs because, among other things, they can be compared with present-day photographs to understand change over time. For insight into interpreting the photos, click here. ###

See the Pecos NHP Museum Collection Online

The museum collection here at the park includes an impressive array of items. Thanks to the ever-more-accessible Web Catalog on the NPS Museum Collections website, it has become possible to search for and view thousands of images and records from National Park museum sites across the country--including the one at Pecos. The site's home page features a "Collection of the Week" and opens the door to a not-often seen side of the resources that NPS protects. Here's a link to part of the Pecos NHP collection. And here are the Forked Lightning Ranch furnishings. ###

Take a Look at the NPS New Mexico Web Page

The work of the National Park Service touches almost every county in the country, regardless of proximity to a national park. Communities invite NPS to provide expertise and grants, review tax credit projects, and make surplus federal land available for parks and recreation facilities. The goal of the new web pages is to tell what NPS does in more than 400 parks and in national programs that benefit communities. Only those who know about the agency's work can benefit from it-so, according to NPS Director Jon Jarvis, "we are building relevance both inside park boundaries and in neighborhoods across the country." To access the New Mexico site, please click here. ###

Civil War to Civil Rights Trading Cards at Pecos NHP

Trading cards have been popular with kids for generations, from images of sports figures to movie stars. Now, Pecos National Historical Park is offering five free trading cards featuring photographs and facts pertaining to the Battle of Glorieta Pass.

The cards at Pecos NHP are part of a series of 550 cards available at participating national parks throughout the United States. To "earn" a trading card, kids (and adults) may participate in a ranger-led tour or answer a question about their park visit. The trading cards are vehicles for telling some 'lesser-known' stories-including the stories of civilians, women, African-Americans, Northern New Mexicans and American Indians. The program also provides further incentive to families with children to visit Pecos NHP and the 86 other parks that offer the cards.

Each trading card tells a little-known story, but collectively the cards describe struggles we have endured as a nation to strive for freedom and equality. They provide an opportunity to reflect upon our past, celebrate the strides we have made, and look forward with commitment to achieve a more perfect union. ###

Fossilized Footprints Meet Modern Technology in New Mexico

An interagency team of scientists and technical specialists joined together recently in an effort to document fragile and ephemeral fossilized footprints by using remote imaging technology.

The area of study includes a portion of a Late Pleistocene megatracksite within and around White Sands National Monument. Thousands of “Ice Age” fossil vertebrate tracks and track ways that date back approximately 20,000 years have been documented within the White Sands megatracksite. The trace fossil assemblage is dominated by mammoth footprints along with associated camel-like and large and small carnivore tracks. These fossil tracks are preserved in soft sediments that are fragile, ephemeral, and weather rapidly once exposed.

To document the large number and diversity of fragile fossil tracks preserved over such an extensive geographic area, an interagency team came together to support this project. Paleontologists, resource managers and aviation specialists from the NPS, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey and the state of New Mexico worked with staff at White Sands National Monument in a multi-month project planning effort to support the paleontological field work.

Several manuscripts will describe the important fossil tracks and the technology and methodologies used in their documentation. The monument staff will roll the new findings into comprehensive interpretive planning, media development, wayside exhibits, and hands-on activities. ###

Parks Seriously Affected by Climate Change, Study Finds

Climate change is happening in America’s national parks, in some cases in rapid and concerning ways, confirms a report from the National Park Service. These changes will have implications for what visitors see and experience in national parks and will require new approaches to the protection of natural and historic resources within parks.

In the article Climate Exposure of US National Parks in a New Era of Change, NPS scientists studied climate data of the last 10 to 30 years as compared to the historical range of variability from 1901 to 2012 from 289 national parks. They found that temperatures are now at the high end of the range of temperatures measured since 1901. This is true across several temperature measurements, including annual average temperature, average temperature of the winter months, and average temperature of the summer months. The data also point to changes in precipitation patterns over time.

These findings are consistent with previous research by the National Park Service, as well as other national and international reports including the recently released National Climate Assessment.

Grand Canyon National Park is one example of an area with significant natural resources that has recently experienced extreme high average temperatures compared to its historical patterns. Warmer temperatures and extended drought are a direct threat to endangered species, and impacts the wildlife’s source of drinking water such as seeps and springs in the canyon.

Historic sites are not immune to the impacts of climate change. At Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, increased temperatures and hydrologic changes have the potential to alter the natural and man-made resources of the park. These effects could include landscape changes that will affect access to and the structural integrity of bridges, locks, lock houses, culverts, dams, and monuments. Increased occurrences of severe storms, flooding, and other unpredictable weather, and changes in growing seasons will affect vegetation and the animals that depend on that vegetation.

The international online scientific journal PLoS ONE highlighted this analysis in a new collection titled “Responding to Climate Change,” which relays the recent research focused on solutions to manage resources in a changing climate. A copy of that original article may be found here. ###

Last updated: December 10, 2019

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Pecos National Historical Park
P.O. Box 418

Pecos, NM 87552


(505) 757-7241

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