Chaco Culture Conservancy Board approves Funding Six Projects for 2021

The Heartbeat of Mother Earth: Drum demonstrations by Everett Fragua, Jemez Pueblo

At the December CCC board meeting the parks’ management presented six projects for possible funding by the Conservancy. The projects cover a wide range of needs in both parks from providing an interpretive audio tour at Aztec Ruins to construction of shade shelters at Chaco. After hearing descriptions of the projects by the parks’ Superintendent and discussion among members, the board unanimously agreed to support all projects presented.

The Conservancy will pay to install free WIFI at the visitor center at Chaco Culture NHP. This WIFI would be utilized by visitors to pay fees (entrance and camping), download the up and coming park app, research information, and carry information bulletins with them on their phone. Providing the means to pay fees on-line will free up park rangers to spend time engaging with the visitors rather than managing cash registers. It will also allow the visitor to download informational bulletins on their phone thereby saving the printing thousands of paper bulletins that often get discarded after use.

Important cultural resource projects included in 2021 funding is the analysis of the remaining 35 macrobotanical objects and the 17 perishable objects from the Fill Level Adjustment Project at Aztec Ruins National Monument conducted over 10 years ago. The macrobotanical objects to be analyzed include: seeds, corn cobs, plant material, and other plant objects. The perishable objects include: basketry fragments, cordage, and reeds.

Large basketry fragment, in-situ, from the Fill Level Adjustment Project at Aztec West in 2010

These analyses will be included as part of the project final report. The report will be published and available to the public and other researchers as a resource that contributes to a greater understanding of Aztec West and its community. Important questions regarding subsistence, dietary practices, and overall health at Aztec West can be answered through a formal analysis of the macrobotanicals.

Additional project to enhance the infrastructure of Chaco Culture NHP and improve the visitor experience include: the construction of two shade shelters within the park and the construction and installation of four new backcountry trail registers. Anyone who has visited Chaco knows that shade is at a premium. These shade shelters will provide a place for visitors to rest and picnic. They also provide a location for park rangers to meet visitors for interpretive programs. Trail registers are very important for helping to locate lost or injured hikers when search and rescue missions becomes necessary.

Other projects approved for CCC funding are an audio tour at Aztec Ruins NM, and cultural demonstrations and academic and interpretive speakers at both parks.

Chaco Culture Conservancy is excited to continue their support to Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument, both World Heritage sites and important areas preserving our rich cultural heritage. Keep watching this site for progress on all these projects.

You can help support these and other projects by supporting Chaco Culture Conservancy through this website.

Tracy Bodnar

I retired in 2013 after over 30 years as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service. I worked in 13 NPS sites. Most of those were Southwest archaeological sites including Chaco Culture NHP, Canyon de Chelly NM, Mesa Verde NP, and Aztec Ruins NM. I reside in Aztec, New Mexico, with my husband (also a retired NPS Park Ranger) when not traveling.

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