The Four Corners region of northern New Mexico is famous for its abundance of ruins of prehistoric Native American villages. Chaco Canyon is the crown jewel, representing the highest point of pre-Columbian pueblo civilization. It contains 13 major archaeological sites, including the famous Pueblo Bonito, an 800-room half-moon shaped pueblo structure with extraordinary patterned stone masonry. Across the canyon, the smaller ruin of Casa Rinconanda holds the magnificent restored "great kiva", which, because of its size, might have served as a ceremonial chamber for the entire community. At its peak, Chaco Canyon was thought to have held a population of 5,000. Several of the structures were built with features in alignment with astronomical events such as the rising sun at summer and winter solstices. While exploring the ruins scattered along the six miles of Chaco Canyon, a hiker is struck by the power and mystery of the advanced civilization that once flourished there.
Although a national park, Chaco is fairly remote and lightly visited, thus offering an opportunity for seclusion and solitude. Miles of dirt road make it difficult for the casual tourist to reach. Our work project will be maintaining trail within the Park, and depending on whether they receive funding, will include building new fence to limit cattle intrusion to sensitive areas of the Park.
Our service project will be to assist the Park Service in routine trail maintenance on trails throughout the park. This entails the cleaning and creation of water-bars, invasive plant removal, and improvement of check-dams. We will camp in a designated campground within the park, likely the administrative campground with numerous amenities. We'll have a free day to hike and explore remote archaeological sites.
Trail maintenance in wilderness areas like this is a tool of both conservation and preservation. Involvement in this work allows one to connect to a wild place while simultaneously facilitating access for others to do the same.
This project is rated as a strenuous project.Check out more photos from last year's Chaco project in our gallery.
Apr 30th - May 6th 2017
Trail restoration, fence construction
Hiking, exploring of ancient archeological sites, photography
Tent camping next to cars in designated campground.
Strenuous : Hiking, bending, digging, lifting