Historic monument heights preserved

National Park Service stonemasons from Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico are helping Colorado National Monument workers repair and rebuild a retaining wall near the west end of Rim Rock Drive. The wall was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.

Workers on Colorado National Monument are improving upon a piece of history as they repair a rock retaining wall on Rim Rock Drive.

The winding rock wall that hugs the road was first installed by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps and members of the Works Project Administration in the 1930s. Stonemasons are securing about a 4,000-foot section along the west end of Rim Rock Drive so they can stabilize the base and improve safety, monument Superintendent Joan Anzelmo said.

“For us, what’s so exciting is it’s the first time in more than 20 years we’ve been able to spend some significant energy on the stonework,” she said. “It’s a pretty visible project.”

Some of the workers on the project include a team from Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. The crew is trained to work with historic rock. The Bandelier team also trained Colorado National Monument staff to do the work. Work on the wall is expected to last into the fall and resume again in early spring.

“This is a dying skill, and we are so glad they are able to teach it to local men in the Grand Valley,” Anzelmo said.

Colorado National Monument has been receiving its share of upgrades, some in preparation for next year’s centennial celebrations.

Several overlooks have been upgraded at Colorado National Monument to improve access and to handle an increasing number of visitors, Anzelmo said. A historic restroom at the monument’s camping area also has been restored, and a new overlook accessible to all will open next month.

A chip-seal project for the road that was planned for this summer has been pushed into next month. The sealant, or microseal, to be applied to the road surface will be smoother than normal chip-seal projects and more rigid than the road’s current surface, Anzelmo said.


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