Because visitors to the popular Alcove House at Bandelier National Monument now face potential dangers beyond the risk of falling off the ladders to the site, it has been closed.
And the closure may be in effect for “many months,” according to a news release from the monument.
That’s because careful work will have to be done to restore the structural stability of the ancestral pueblo site, which nestles in a cliff niche the equivalent of 14 stories above Frijoles Canyon.
Masonry repairs done in the 1930s have developed a network of cracks, according to the news release, and masonry has become dislodged in recent days.
On Wednesday, staff from Bandelier’s Vanishing Treasures division was assessing the site for future stabilization work and discovered that masonry has loosened at the Kiva structure, which was becoming undercut. Staff returned on Thursday to examine the site and recommended closure.
“Closing a site as popular as Alcove House is not something the National Park Service would do lightly. It is one of the signature sites of Bandelier National Monument,” Acting Superintendent Tom Betts said in the news release. “But we do not want to take any chances with visitors getting injured or falling, and we want the resource to be stabilized and protected …