Cibola National Forest – Sandia Trails


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Damage to the Quarai ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

ABQjournal: ATVs Damaging Historic Area By Beth Hahn, Mountain View Telegraph

One of the most historic places in the Estancia Valley area has been damaged by all-terrain vehicles.

Damage to the Quarai ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, near the land grant community of Manzano, could destroy delicate cultural and historic artifacts, monument Superintendent Glenn Fulfer told Torrance County commissioners recently.

As a result of the damage, Fulfer said the monument could get a new security gate and lock boxes.

Artifacts ranging from Spanish spear heads to pottery shards have been found among the ruins.

Most of the pueblo remains unexcavated, and Fulfer said that makes the park vulnerable to visitors who wander off the gray gravel trail.

Quarai was once home to 300 to 400 Tiwa pueblo-dwellers.

Today, the red sandstone ruins of Quarai— a massive church and a few pueblo structures— is open to the public almost year-round.

During a tour of Quarai earlier this month, Fulfer said that of the three sets of ruins included in the Salinas Pueblos area, Quarai is the best-preserved.

“Quarai is important because there is little physical evidence left of history where Spanish settlers came in contact with Native Americans,” he said. “These are capsules in time. These churches have gone through very little physical change.”

At Quarai, the church once known as Nuestra Señora de La Purisima Concepcion de Cuarac, stands about 40 feet tall, with walls three to six feet deep.

Quarai, along with Abó and Gran Quivira, contain some of the oldest church structures in New Mexico.

The church at Quarai was built during the late 1620s or early 1630s. It was abandoned in 1677 after a combination of drought, disease and Apache raids drove the residents from the area.


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Ohkay Owingeh, formerly San Juan Pueblo

ABQjournal: San Juan Pueblo Tries To Change Name By Martin Salazar, Journal Northern Bureau

SAN JUAN PUEBLO — The green sign off N.M. 68 north of Española says San Juan Pueblo, but mention that name to Pueblo Gov. Joe Garcia and he’ll likely correct you.

The pueblo plans to officially change its name back to what it was before Spanish missionaries arrived in New Mexico more than 400 years ago. It has already changed some signs and is identifying itself by its original name in correspondence.

“It’s Ohkay Owingeh (pronounced O-keh o-WEENG-eh),” the ponytailed, gray-haired governor said during a recent interview, casting aside the Spanish name bestowed by Don Juan de Oñate during his 1598 expedition to New Mexico.

Oñate christened the pueblo San Juan de los Caballeros when he took possession of it on July 12, 1598, according to “The Place Names of New Mexico,” a reference book considered an authority on names in the state. Oñate chose the name to honor his patron saint — John the Baptist. …

The book Place Names of New Mexico by Robert Julyan lists the pueblo’s original name as O’ke and translates the word as “we are the brothers.” But Garcia said Ohkay is Tewa for strong and Owingeh means place or village, adding that his translation of the name is “place of the strong people.”

“It sets our purpose in life, but it also impacts the perception we get from the rest of the country,” Garcia said. “It means a lot more.”


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Edge of the Cedars State Park, Blanding, Utah

Tiny Utah town has impressive Anasazi, dinosaur museums Ron Dungan
The Arizona Republic

You will probably never plan a trip to Blanding, Utah. But if you travel in the Four Corners area and find yourself passing through, the small town’s museums are worth stopping for.

Don’t miss the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum. It has an impressive display of Anasazi artifacts.

The museum is built near a ruin, part of which has been restored. As ruins go, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde are more impressive, but Edge of the Cedars has excellent examples of pottery, knives, arrowheads, awls and other items.

Much of the year, you’ll see snow on the Abajo Mountains in the background as you walk by the ruin walls, an impressive sight that gives you an idea of why the Anasazi lived in the valleys rather than the mountains.


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Chaco Road continued

Farmington Daily Times Plan to pave dirt road to ancient canyon draws mixed reviews

The highway bill that President Bush recently signed — $286 billion in spending — contains $800,000 to smooth the ride on the recommended route into Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

San Juan County, which owns the road, plans to apply chip seal — layers of oil and crushed rock chips — to 13 miles of dirt.

With five miles already done, and three more previously scheduled for next spring, the entire 21 miles connecting major artery U.S. 550 and Chaco could be paved within a couple of years. …

The park, in northwestern New Mexico, gets about 80,000 people annually, and chief of interpretation Russ Bodnar says opinions about the road are evenly split.

“Some of them are just absolutely appalled that the access to a national park could be so horrible. Other folks walk in and tell us that they realize it makes Chaco a special place,” he said.
Park officials are taking no position on the paving, since it’s San Juan County’s road. Nor have they estimated its impact on visitation.

Can’t we spend a bit of that $800,000 on some guestimates? mjh


Posted in Chaco |

Doc Long Picnic Area, SANDIA CREST ROAD

The Albuquerque Tribune: La Vida
Trail Tales: Nature pioneer’s name lives on at camp area
By Ollie Reed Jr.
Tribune Columnist

But 90 years ago, this part of the mountain was a wilder place of greater solitude. What roads existed here then were dirt and rock and a trip to the mountains from Albuquerque was an enterprise requiring some planning beyond tossing a bottle of water and a tube of sunscreen into the back seat.

It was during this period that William Henry “Doc” Long established his field camp on the site now occupied by the picnic area named for him.

Long was a pioneering forest pathologist, a man who studied the diseases of trees….


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Soon to be flooded

.: Corvallis Gazette-Times :. Archives
Colorado dig at dam site running out of time, money
The Denver Post

PARKER, Colo. — Amid the weedy expanse that soon will become this growing town’s reservoir, Erik Gantt and his archaeological crew are fighting a battle against time.

The group from Fort Collins-based Centennial Archaeology Inc. was invited to Douglas County nearly a year ago to investigate findings that ancient people lived at the creek site southwest of Parker for thousands of years, building homes, creating artistic objects and hunting food.

But budget overruns due to time-consuming discoveries on the Rueter-Hess Reservoir land have prompted the Army Corps of Engineers to ask that archaeologists abandon the 6,500-year-old site early next month.

Bulldozers would shovel dirt over sites that have already yielded some of Colorado’s oldest pottery and what may be a one-of-a-kind kiln. …

Because only 1 percent to 2 percent of the site was excavated, meaning more money would be needed, town officials argued that a cap should be put on the work. …

But if the archaeologists pack up next month and rebury dig areas, the decision could add to a continuing nationwide debate over whether public needs should trump preservation of prehistoric finds. …

“There are complex deposits all along (Rueter-Hess) that you simply couldn’t have planned for,” said Larry Todd, an anthropology professor at Colorado State University. “If your only concern is economics, then it’s impossible to argue against.

“But everyone involved here has to know that you’re dealing with an irreplaceable, nonrenewable piece of history.”

The site was home to prehistoric people that lived there 6,500 years ago to about 1,800 years ago. The oldest artifacts predate Egypt’s pyramids by more than 3,000 years and Plato’s teachings in Greece by more than 6,000 years.

A different project —

Ah, Wilderness!: study area under water within a few years

A team from SWCA Environmental Consultants is wrapping up four years of investigations this summer because the Animas-La Plata Project, a settlement of American Indian water-right claims, will leave the study area under water within a few years.


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They said “no.”
Environmental victory at Red Paint Canyon
by Sherry Robinson

In the end, all the people who cared about Warm Springs and Red Paint Canyon — Apaches, ranchers, farmers and residents — spoke with one voice.

They said “no.”

Last week, the Division of Mining and Minerals turned down an application to drill in an area that’s both fragile and sacred.

mjh’s Blog: More About the History Around the Monticello Box

mjh’s Blog: Help Save A Special Place in New Mexico


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The Big Meltdown

Arctic melt likely to worsen, scientists warn – Environment –

The rate of ice melting in the Arctic is increasing and a panel of researchers says it sees no natural process that is likely to change that trend.

Within a century the melting could lead to summertime ice-free ocean conditions not seen in the area in a million years, the group said Tuesday.

Melting of land-based glaciers could take much longer but could raise the sea levels, potentially affecting coastal regions worldwide.


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Chaco and Mesa Verde

Q: Are the Chaco Canyon ruins related at all to those at Mesa Verde? EB

A: There are connections between Chaco and Mesa Verde. I’m not an anthropologist or historian. I can say that both were built by the Anasazi, sometimes known as Ancestral Puebloans. I believe the big construction at Mesa Verde started later than the big construction at Chaco, which was occupied for at least hundreds of years and had about a 200 year run of Great Houses (about 950 to 1150AD). People surely moved back and forth between the two locations (among many others throughout the Four Corners). Mesa Verde may have been occupied later than Chaco (into the 1300’s).



Posted in Chaco |

Rio Grande bosque

ABQjournal: Local Biologists’ Vision of Restored Rio Grande Valley Taking Hold
By Tania Soussan
Journal Staff Writer

Cliff Crawford has been talking about a Rio Grande bosque made up of scattered groves of cottonwoods and willows separated by open, grassy savannas for years.

Now, with tree thinning and restoration projects gathering momentum and creating change in the bosque, Crawford’s vision seems attainable. …

There are other benefits of restoring a more open bosque, including making trees less vulnerable to disease and saving water.

“What we’re focused on here is ecosystem function,” Grogan said. “We’re trying to make the bosque more resilient.”

Stands of trees in the bosque now are typically 10 to 15 feet apart, but they should be 40 feet apart, said Yasmeen Najmi of the conservancy district.

Thinning out the trees and replanting young cottonwoods and shrubs to emphasize patchiness with different ages and species of natives is a priority.


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Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council

ABQjournal: Group Comes to Aid of Stranded or Injured Hikers in the Sandias
By Toby Smith
Journal Staff Writer

Chances are you won’t bump into an Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council volunteer unless you are in trouble. Big trouble.

Say you’re a hiker in the Sandia Mountains who wanders off course, slips and turns his ankle. Suddenly you’re stuck with a bum foot and no idea which way to go.

It’s getting late when your friends in town start to worry about you. That’s when the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council generally gets a telephone call, usually from the State Police.

Fifty years old this year, the AMRC is a wilderness and search and rescue team, one of several working in New Mexico.

The group got going in February 1955 when people were needed to recover and bring down bodies from the TWA airplane crash in the Sandias. …

“The Sandias are much more complex than they look from the city,” says Scherzinger, a Sandia Labs aerospace engineer. “They’re pretty big, and it’s easy for people to get lost up there.”

Albuquerque Mountain Rescue


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County Paving the Way to Chaco

ABQjournal: County Paving the Way to Chaco
By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer

Tucked into a massive transportation bill that cleared Congress last week and is headed to the president’s desk is $800,000 that will settle once and for all a popular New Mexico campfire debate:
Should the road to Chaco Canyon be paved or not?
Continue reading


Posted in Chaco |

NM Buying Land To Protect Flower

ABQjournal: Around New Mexico

State Buying Land To Protect Flower

The State Forestry Division is buying 116 acres of the Blue Hole Cienega, a wetland near Santa Rosa, to protect habitat for the rare Pecos sunflower.

The area has one of the few remaining large stands of the sunflower, which is listed as an endangered plant by the state and as threatened by the federal government.

The purchase — paid for with $75,000 each from a federal grant and state Department of Transportation money used to mitigate highway impacts — marks the first time the state has bought land to protect an endangered plant.


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