Bandelier National Monument Wilderness Cleanup A Success

Part of the wilderness cleanup crew that worked at Bandelier National Weekend September 25-26. Photo Courtesy NPS


Volunteers and National Park Service employees helped celebrate National Public Lands Day (NPLD) at Bandelier National Monument by removing equipment from Bandelier’s backcountry during the wilderness cleanup this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, September 25 and 26. Materials from eight different discontinued projects were broken down, consolidated, and packed out on the backs of participants.  

A group of 34 people, spent about 16 hours, traversing over 57 miles of rough canyon and mesa country topography with heavy packs to help keep Bandelier’s wilderness pristine. Most of Bandelier, over 23,000 acres, was designated as wilderness by Congress in 1976. September is also National Wilderness Month and a great time to focus efforts on cleaning up federal wilderness areas, which is what event organizer and Chief Ranger Dennis Milligan had in mind. “I really appreciate the support of our volunteers and staff in this effort. The project would not been possible without their hard work and enthusiasm,” stated Milligan.  

Most of the public visits the front country areas of the monument, including the very popular Frijoles Canyon.  Bandelier has received over 174,000 visitors so far this year. Those who venture out into the backcountry are rewarded with beauty and solitude. Efforts this weekend help preserve wilderness character and keep Bandelier’s Wilderness wild. 

National Public Lands Day was established in 1994 and is traditionally known as the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.  NPLD celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits  

Bandelier National Monument is open every day from sunrise to sunset. Rangers are available in front of the visitor center, 8:30 am-4:30 pm daily; the park store operated by Western National Parks Association is open 9:00 am-5:00 pm daily and the café, Sirphey’s at Bandelier, is open 9 am-4:30 pm daily.