Her­itage Preser­va­tion Month

Pasatiempo - - NEWS -

This year is the cen­ten­nial an­niver­sary of the Na­tional Park Ser­vice, along with the 50th an­niver­sary of the Na­tional His­toric Preser­va­tion Act and of the com­ple­tion of the Mis­sion 66 pro­gram, which re­shaped the na­tional parks. You can help cel­e­brate those mile­stones on Fri­day, May 13, by ex­plor­ing Rowe Mesa rock art, par­tic­i­pat­ing in a Poshu­ouinge Pue­blo (Abiquiú) walk­ing tour or at­tend­ing a Navajo rug auc­tion in Crown­point.

May is Her­itage Preser­va­tion Month, es­tab­lished in 1973 by the Na­tional Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion. “Af­ter World War II, Amer­i­cans be­gan vis­it­ing the na­tion’s parks in huge num­bers that over­taxed the hum­ble ameni­ties mostly built in the 1920s and 1930s,” said Jeff Pap­pas, di­rec­tor of the New Mexico His­toric Preser­va­tion Divi­sion. “With Mis­sion 66, many na­tional parks for the first time pro­vided ad­e­quate re­strooms, in­ter­pre­tive dis­plays, and open, ex­pan­sive in­door spa­ces from which peo­ple could gaze upon the cul­tural or nat­u­ral re­sources they were vis­it­ing.”

Mis­sion 66 started in 1956, and in the next decade, over a hun­dred vis­i­tor cen­ters were es­tab­lished. One of the state’s more dis­tinc­tive cen­ters was built at El Morro Na­tional Mon­u­ment south of Gallup. Like many oth­ers, it was lo­cated near the park’s main cul­tural re­source: the mas­sive cuesta (a hilly fea­ture with a steep and a grad­ual in­cline on ei­ther side) that is known for the ru­ins of Atsinna Pue­blo, along with a nat­u­ral pool and In­scrip­tion Trail, fea­tur­ing pre­his­toric pet­ro­glyphs as well as thou­sands of in­scrip­tions by early Span­ish and An­glo vis­i­tors.

The El Morro vis­i­tor cen­ter (which is fea­tured on the new Her­itage Preser­va­tion Month poster) was de­signed by Ce­cil J. Doty (also the ar­chi­tect on Santa Fe’s Na­tional Park Ser­vice build­ing), with mod­ernistic de­sign by the Cal­i­for­nia ar­chi­tec­ture firm DeLong & Zahm As­so­ciates.

There are plenty of other spe­cial events and pro­grams sched­uled. Ev­ery Tues­day, Fri­day, and Satur­day night in May, there is a one-hour archeoas­tron­omy pre­sen­ta­tion at Chaco Cul­ture Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Park. Fort Ba­yard, near Sil­ver City, has morn­ing walk­ing tours of the Na­tional His­toric Land­mark on Satur­day, May 14, May 21, and May 30. At Ban­de­lier Na­tional Mon­u­ment, also mark­ing its cen­ten­nial, teams of sci­en­tists, stu­dents, and the pub­lic will iden­tify plants, an­i­mals, mi­crobes, fungi and more on May 20 and 21, as part of a Bio­di­ver­sity and Cul­tural Fi­esta. There’s a guided tour at 1 p.m. on May 20 to il­lus­trate how the mon­u­ment has re-adapted its preser­va­tion ap­proach over the last 100 years, as well as a guided ca­vate cliff-dwelling tour sched­uled for the morn­ing of May 27.

For a com­plete events list and other in­for­ma­tion, see www.nmhis­toricp­reser­va­tion.org or call 505-827-4067. — Paul Wei­de­man

Be­low, re­stored mar­quee at the Silco The­ater in Sil­ver City, courtesy Sil­ver City MainStreet Project; re­stored San Ysidro Church in Cor­rales, photo Ed Boles, courtesy New Mexico His­toric Preser­va­tion Divi­sion

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