Message #161:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: NPS FY98 Vanishing Treasures Initiative
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 20:46:24 -0700

For Release Upon Receipt
Cecilia L. Matic 505/988-6014

$3.5 million for ruins preservation in National Park Service FY1998 budget

SANTA FE, N.M.--Unique and perishable masonry ruins in 41 national parks in
the arid West important to our national heritage are deteriorating at a
rate which far exceeds the National Park Service's (NPS) efforts to
maintain them. These tangible symbols of America's heritage are slowly
vanishing due to weathering and erosion. Moisture is seeping through beams
and down into the walls, rock walls are collapsing due to severe base
erosion, and stone and adobe bricks are pulverizing to dust. Nearly 20
million visitors come to see these prehistoric and historic structures to
learn about the ancient and historic cultures that created them. 

In an effort to provide a level of care for these ruins that will insure
their preservation, the NPS has developed a "Vanishing Treasures
Initiative." It's a 10-year program to bring NPS capability and the
prehistoric and historic structures to a condition in which they will be
preserved by routine preservation
maintenance activities. The Initiative includes: immediate emergency
actions to be carried out in the first year; documentation, planning and
management of projects to be carried out over the 10-year period of the
Initiative; a focus on skilled maintenance expert development and training;
and provisions for
appropriate expertise in other disciplines to make the program successful. 

The National Park Service budget for Fiscal Year 1998 includes a $3.5
million funding request under the Vanishing Treasures Initiative. Funding
for the first year of a 10-year program would improve preservation of more
than 2,000 prehistoric and historic ruins in 41 parks within the states of
Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. 

The "Vanishing Treasures Initiative" was the brain child of staff in three
New Mexico national park areas who met in 1993 to analyze their respective
preservation programs at Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Culture
National Historical Park and Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
They identified three critical problems in their ruins preservation
program: 1) The decay of these sites was tied directly to inadequate
funding for ruins preservation and the overall downward trend in funding
was reflected in the condition of the structures; 2) There was no system to
efficiently and effectively identify preservation needs and priorities and
to identify resources available to address those needs; and 3) There was an
aging ruins preservation workforce comprised of Native Americans or
Hispanics and no formal training program for this specialty. 

These park staffs then began developing a Strategic Plan, with assistance
from their colleagues, to guide development and implementation of a ruins
preservation program. Their mission was to provide a level of care for the
ruins of the arid West that would insure their preservation, while meeting
the recreational,
educational, and scientific needs of all who may benefit from these unique
resources. The end result was the "Vanishing Treasures Initiative." The 41
Vanishing Treasures parks are: 

Canyon de Chelly NM
Casa Grande Ruins NM
Chiricahua NM
Coronado NMem
Fort Bowie NHS
Grand Canyon NP
Hubbell Trading Post NHS
Montezuma Castle NM
Navajo NM
Organ Pipe Cactus NM
Petrified Forest NP
Tonto NM
Tumacacori NHP
Tuzigoot NM
Walnut Canyon NM
Wupatki NM

Bent's Old Fort HS
Colorado NM
Dinosaur NM
Mesa Verde NP

Aztec Ruins NM
Bandelier NM
Chaco Culture NHP
El Malpais NM
El Morro NM
Fort Union NM
Gila Cliff Dwellings NM
Pecos NHP
Salinas Pueblo Missions NM

Big Bend NP
Fort Davis NHS
San Antonio Missions NHP

Arches NP
Canyonlands NP
Capitol Reef NP
Glen Canyon NRA
Golden Spike NHS
Hovenweep NM
Natural Bridges NM
Zion NP

Fort Larmie