by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Mesa Verde

National Park - Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park is in southwest Colorado. It's known for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, notably the huge Cliff Palace. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum has exhibits on the ancient Native American culture. Mesa Top Loop Road winds past archaeological sites and overlooks, including Sun Point Overlook with panoramic canyon views. Petroglyph Point Trail has several rock carvings.

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maps

Official visitor map of Mesa Verde National Park (NP) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Mesa Verde - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Mesa Verde National Park (NP) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Dolores Ranger District in San Juan National Forest (NF) in Colorado. Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).San Juan MVUM - Dolores 2020

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Dolores Ranger District in San Juan National Forest (NF) in Colorado. Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

brochures

Brochure of Visitor Activities in Winter at Mesa Verde National Park (NP) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Mesa Verde Guide - Winter/Spring 2020/21

Brochure of Visitor Activities in Winter at Mesa Verde National Park (NP) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure of Visitor Activities in Summer at Mesa Verde National Park (NP) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Mesa Verde Guide - Summer 2020

Brochure of Visitor Activities in Summer at Mesa Verde National Park (NP) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/meve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa_Verde_National_Park Mesa Verde National Park is in southwest Colorado. It's known for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, notably the huge Cliff Palace. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum has exhibits on the ancient Native American culture. Mesa Top Loop Road winds past archaeological sites and overlooks, including Sun Point Overlook with panoramic canyon views. Petroglyph Point Trail has several rock carvings. For over 700 years, the Ancestral Pueblo people built thriving communities on the mesas and in the cliffs of Mesa Verde. Today, the park protects the rich cultural heritage of 26 Pueblos and Tribes and offers visitors a spectacular window into the past. This World Heritage Site and International Dark Sky Park is home to over a thousand species, including several that live nowhere else on earth. Mesa Verde National Park is in Southwestern Colorado. The park entrance is along Highway 160, between the towns of of Cortez and Mancos, Colorado. (10 miles east of Cortez; 9 miles west of Mancos; and about 35 miles west of Durango, Colorado.) Once you enter the park, the first view of a cliff dwelling is 21 miles (approximately 45 minutes) along a steep, narrow, and winding road. Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum Located at milepost 20, the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum offers dioramas, artifacts, and exhibits that provide insight into the Ancestral Pueblo lifeways. A 25-minute orientation file is shown on the hour and half-hour, providing an excellent overview of the history at Mesa Verde. A museum store, water, restrooms, café, gift shop, and post office are all located nearby. Just behind the museum is a stunning view of Spruce Tree House, the third largest and best-preserved cliff dwelling in the park. From the park entrance, drive 20 miles (32.2 km) to the all-way stop on Chapin Mesa. Turn right. Drive about 0.7 miles (1.13 km) to the museum parking lot. Entrance Station Kiosk The entrance station kiosk is located approximately 1/2 from the entrance to the park and the visitor center. Our friendly rangers can provide you with a park map, information, Jr. Ranger Books and Badges and a passport stamp as well as collecting the entrance fee. Visitors arriving outside station hours may pay their fee directly through www.recreation.gov. Park brochures can be found at the signboard on the right. Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center Located at the park entrance, off Highway 160, this facility serves as the park’s primary facility for orienting visitors to opportunities within the park and surrounding area. Exhibits offer glimpses into the richness of Ancestral Pueblo culture and daily life. The Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center is near the park entrance, located just off Highway 160 between the towns of Mancos and Cortez, and about 35 miles west of Durango, Colorado. Morefield Campground Morefield Campground is located just four miles from the park entrance. The 267 campsites are located within a high grassy canyon filled with Gambel oak, native flowers, deer, and wild turkeys. A camp store offers registration, food, and camp supplies. Firewood, gasoline, showers, a coin-operated laundromat, and a kennel are located nearby. Each site has a picnic table, gravel tent pad, and fire pit/bbq grill. The campground is managed by park concessioner Aramark, and is open between spring and fall. Dry Camping 36.00 Fee for dry RV or tent camping. (Rate is based on double occupancy. Additional person charges apply for extra persons age 6 years and older.) Senior and Access passes apply to all camping. Discount will be applied only to campsite occupied by the person to whom the passport has been issued. Check-in can occur anytime during Campground Store hours. If store is closed, please pick a location and check-in the next morning. Check-out is by 11:00 am Mountain Daylight Saving Time. Full Hook-Up 50.00 Fee for full hook-up RV camping. (Rate is based on two people. Additional person charges apply for extra persons age 6 years and older.) Senior/Access passes apply to all camping. Discount will be applied only to campsite occupied by the person to whom the passport has been issued. Reservations are highly recommended. Check-in can occur anytime during Campground Store hours. If store is closed, please pick a location and check-in the next morning. Check-out is by 11:00 am Mountain Daylight Saving Time. Morefield Campground Expansive, overhead view of loop roads and campsites within a green valley surrounded by hills Morefield's campsites are situated on loop roads that extend through a high grassy canyon filled with Gambel Oak scrub, native flowers, deer, and wild turkeys. Cliff Palace Large cliff dwelling in cliff alcove Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde's Largest Cliff Dwelling Step House Park visitors visiting a cliff dwelling Visitors enjoying Step House, on Wetherill Mesa Balcony House A cliff dwelling within a cliff alcove seen from across a canyon View of Balcony House from the Soda Canyon Overlook Square Tower House View of cliff dwelling from above a canyon Square Tower House from overlook along the Mesa Top Loop View of Spruce Tree House View of cliff dwelling from across canyon Spruce Tree House Spruce Tree House Within a cliff dwelling Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde's third largest and best preserved cliff dwelling Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center Visitor center entrance with sculpture of Ancestral Pueblo climber in front plaza. Stop by the Mesa Verde Visitor & Research Center at the park entrance where park staff will help you plan your visit. NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. stone buildings in alcove 2014 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Recipients of the 2014 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Mesa Verde National Park Completes Resource Management Fuel Reduction Project In April 2014, Mesa Verde NP fire staff completed the nine-acre Bobcat prescribed burn to protect a grove of large ponderosa pine trees from future loss to wildfire by reducing an unnatural buildup of vegetation. The burn benefits plants and animals of the fire-adapted ecosystem, especially the threatened Mexican spotted owl; protects cultural resources; and maintains and restores resilient landscapes. Park Air Profiles - Mesa Verde National Park Air quality profile for Mesa Verde National Park. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Mesa Verde NP as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Mesa Verde NP. Prairie rattlesnake America's Best Idea: Featured National Historic Landmarks Over 200 National Historic Landmarks are located in national parks units. Some historical and cultural resources within the park system were designated as NHLs before being established as park units. Yet other park units have NHLs within their boundaries that are nationally significant for reasons other than those for which the park was established. Twenty of those NHLs are located in parks featured in Ken Burn's documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. watchtower against blue sky Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship of Birds of Conservation Concern at Bandelier and Mesa Verde Southern Colorado Plateau Inventory and Monitoring Network bird monitoring allows scientists to track bird numbers, diversity, and habitat relationships. However, it is less able to identify reasons for changes in bird populations. The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship program (MAPS) is complementary in that regard. It collects demographic data such as bird reproduction and survival rates. Bandelier and Mesa Verde implemented MAPS programs in 2010. Wildlife biology intern demonstrates the proper way to hold a bird. Increasing temperature seasonality may overwhelm shifts in soil moisture to favor shrub over grass dominance in Colorado Plateau drylands Increasing variability of temperature favors a shift to shrublands over grasslands in arid southwestern landscapes. This effect is greater than the effect of increasing soil moisture, which favors a shift to grasslands over shrublands. Grassland with scattered junipers and hills in the background. An Ancestral Puebloan Community in Morefield Canyon Archeological studies of the formation of large pueblo villages in Mesa Verde NP suggest that populations moved from dispersed homesteads and hamlets into larger aggregated communities. Researchers found evidence that public architecture and infrastructure had the potential to greatly enhance the agricultural productivity and population carrying capacity in Morefield Canyon, sowing the seeds for the later massive cliff dwellings that give Mesa Verde its fame. Archeologists mapping a site in the central valley of Morefield Canyon. Fossil Shark Egg Case Discovered at Mesa Verde National Park A surprising find in Mesa Verde National Park! G. William M. Harrison shares his story of discovering a chimaera egg case. A field scientist in their natural environment at Mesa Verde National Park The Colorado Plateau The Colorado Plateau is centered on the four corners area of the Southwest, and includes much of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Hazy Fajada Butte, Chaco Culture National Monument Monitoring Upland Vegetation and Soils on the Southern Colorado Plateau Vegetation and soils are the foundation upon which all terrestrial ecosystems are built. Soils provide the medium for the storage and delivery of water and nutrients to plants, which in turn provide animal populations with both habitat and food. Sampling grassland vegetation at a long-term monitoring plot at Wupatki National Monument Monitoring Bird Communities on the Southern Colorado Plateau Bird communities can tell us a lot about changing environmental conditions. High on the food chain, and sensitive to climate and habitat changes, birds are monitored on the Southern Colorado Plateau as indicators of riparian and upland ecosystem health. Male Williamson’s sapsucker. Wildland Fire in Douglas Fir: Western United States Douglas fir is widely distributed throughout the western United States, as well as southern British Columbia and northern Mexico. Douglas fir is able to survive without fire, its abundantly-produced seeds are lightweight and winged, allowing the wind to carry them to new locations where seedlings can be established. Close-up of Douglas fir bark and needles. Wildland Fire in Sagebrush Sagebrush will burn when the surrounding grasses are dry. With strong winds, fire spreads rapidly with flames sometimes reaching over 30 feet high. While fire easily kills sagebrush, the other plants resprout from protected roots producing lush forage for wildlife and livestock. Close-up of sagebrush leaves Tree Ring Dating at Mesa Verde National Park Tree-ring dating, or dendrochronology, has been an integral part of archeological research at Mesa Verde National Park since 1923. The full dendrochornological potential of the park, however, has not yet been tapped. Dendrochronological research on archeological and living wood in the park holds the potential to more accurately date building construction phases and provide insights into climate changes and human adaptation to these changes. Ladder and beams in a kiva. Modeling Past and Future Soil Moisture in Southern Colorado Plateau National Parks and Monuments In this project, USGS and NPS scientists used the range of variation in historical climate data to provide context for assessing the relative impact of projected future climate on soil water availability. This report provides the results of modeled SWP generated for 11 ecosystems in nine Southern Colorado Plateau Network parks. Extensive grassland at Wupatki National Monument Monitoring Night Skies and Natural Soundscapes on the Southern Colorado Plateau Many national parks in the Southern Colorado Plateau region contain large areas of wilderness, where dark night skies and natural soundscapes are important human values. Dark night skies, which depend upon the visibility of stars and other natural components, are diminishing resources in several park units because of anthropogenic activities. Natural soundscapes—that is, the natural sounds of wildlands—are degraded by sounds caused by humans or human technology. Clouds and sky turning red and orange over Navajo National Monument at sunset Virtual Mesa Verde Junior Ranger Program Hi! My name is Kathy and this is my friend Gentle Rain who lived in Mesa Verde 750 years ago. She helped me become a junior ranger, and now we both want to help you. As you explore the park online and complete activities, you will learn about Gentle Rain’s culture, discover items her family and friends once used, and see the types of homes they lived in. Just download the booklet and follow our directions, and you will earn your virtual ranger badge in no time! Two young girls from different time periods are sitting on the ground, interacting with one another. Wildland Fire in Ponderosa Pine: Western United States This forest community generally exists in areas with annual rainfall of 25 inches or less. Extensive pure stands of this forest type are found in the southwestern U.S., central Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Recently burned ponderosa pine forest. Southwest River Environments In the arid Southwest, water means life, and prehistorically, rivers were the lifelines of the people. The Colorado River flowing through a canyon Monitoring Water Quality on the Southern Colorado Plateau Water quality data are used to characterize waters, detect trends over time, and identify emerging problems. In Southern Colorado Plateau Network parks, water quality is monitored as an indicator of aquatic ecosystem integrity, as a component of watershed condition, and to document water quality conditions in relation to state and federal regulations. Collecting water quality data Vegetation Characterization and Mapping on the Southern Colorado Plateau Vegetation mapping is a tool used by botanists, ecologists, and land managers to better understand the abundance, diversity, and distribution of different vegetation types across a landscape. Vegetation plots used for the classification and mapping of El Malpais NM Climate Change on the Southern Colorado Plateau The combination of high. elevation and a semi-arid climate makes the Colorado Plateau particularly vulnerable to climate change. Climate models predict that over the next 100 years, the Southwest will become warmer and even more arid, with more extreme droughts than the region has experienced in the recent past. One result of climate change may be more, larger floods, like this flash flood in Glen Canyon NRA Monitoring Spring Ecosystems on the Southern Colorado Plateau Springs are important water sources in arid landscapes, supporting unique plant associations and sustaining high levels of biotic diversity. Because springs rely on groundwater, they can serve as important indicators of change in local and regional aquifers. On the Colorado Plateau, spring ecosystems also provide vital habitat for both endemic and regionally rare species, including several types of orchids and declining populations of leopard frogs. A pool of water filled with vegetation and sheltered by large rocks Monitoring Aquatic Macroinvertebrates on the Southern Colorado Plateau Aquatic macroinvertebrates, such as insect larvae, snails, and worms, play a vital role in stream ecosystems, both as a food source and as consumers of algae and other organic matter. Because macroinvertebrates are sensitive to environmental change, monitoring them can help to detect chemical, physical, and biological impacts to aquatic ecosystems. Monitoring aquatic macroinvertebrates Hummingbird Monitoring in Southwestern National Parks Hummingbirds are beautiful and charismatic, but not as well studied as many other birds. Some hummingbird species in the U.S. might be in decline, so monitoring them to estimate their abundance and detect trends in their populations is an important step towards developing a conservation strategy. Releasing a hummingbird after banding. The Story of Desert View Watchtower The view from the Desert View Watchtower provides a unique perspective of the eastern side of Grand Canyon. From here, looking to the northeast offers a distant glimpse of the Colorado River's transition from the relatively narrow Marble Canyon to the north into the much wider, broader expanse of Grand Canyon. Directly below is the Colorado River's "Big Bend", where it dramatically shifts its previously southward course by executing a sharp 90-degree turn to the west. On the edge of a canyon cliff, a circular stone tower four stories, 70 feet tall. Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Mesozoic Era The Mesozoic Era (251.9 to 66 million years ago) was the "Age of Reptiles." During the Mesozoic, Pangaea began separating into the modern continents, and the modern Rocky Mountains rose. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land and air. As climate changed and rapid plate tectonics resulted in shallow ocean basins, sea levels rose world-wide and seas expanded across the center of North America. fossil dinosaur skull in rock face Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Since 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) has awarded Environmental Achievement (EA) Awards to recognize staff and partners in the area of environmental preservation, protection and stewardship. A vehicle charges at an Electric Vehicle charging station at Thomas Edison National Historical Park Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 10, No. 2, Fall 2018 All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology news</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul> NPS staff work to document a recently discovered slab of Navajo Sandstone Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ Cretaceous Period—145.0 to 66.0 MYA Many now-arid western parks, including Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Mesa Verde National Park, were inundated by the Cretaceous Interior Seaway that bisected North America. Massive dinosaur and other reptile fossils are found in Cretaceous rocks of Big Bend National Park. dinosaur footprint in stone Mesozoic Era The Mesozoic Era (251.9 to 66 million years ago) was the "Age of Reptiles." During the Mesozoic, Pangaea began separating into the modern continents, and the modern Rocky Mountains rose. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land and air. As climate changed and rapid plate tectonics resulted in shallow ocean basins, sea levels rose world-wide and seas expanded across the center of North America. fossil dinosaur skull in rock face Two for the Price of One Companion, assistant, confidant, ambassador, host, nurse, cook, secretary, editor, field technician, wildlife wrangler, diplomat, and social director are some of the many roles that people who marry into the NPS perform in support of their spouses and the NPS mission. Although the wives and daughters of park rangers were some of the earliest women rangers in the NPS, many more women served as “park wives” in the 1920s–1940s. Three members of a family What Did You Call Me? Only 17 women park rangers are documented from 1918 to 1927. Perhaps another three or four are hinted at in the records. Even so, the total number was probably still only around 20. Most histories of the NPS, however, put the total number of women rangers much lower. The difference isn’t just a simple matter of math. It goes to the heart of the question “What makes a ranger?” female ranger in uniform at a desk Who Wears the Pants Around Here? After a promising start in the early 1920s, only a handful of women were hired as park rangers and naturalists in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the national monuments of the Southwest became the new hot spots for women in uniformed positions in the 1930s. Women in skirts and pants Substitute Rangers As the 1940s dawned, the United States was still dealing with the economic woes of the Great Depression and trying not to get drawn in WWII. Even as it continued to manage New Deal Program work in national and state parks, the NPS remained understaffed as a government bureau. The emergency relief workers and about 15 percent of NPS staff enlisted or were drafted during the first couple of years of WWII. Winifred Tada, 1940. (Courtesy of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin) The Intersecting Crossroads of Paleontology and Archeology: When are Fossils Considered Artifacts? Understanding human knowledge and attitudes (human dimensions) towards paleontological resources through the cooccurrence of fossils and artifacts and/or tribal consultation (archeological context) helps us better appreciate those human values, perspectives, and beliefs. This understanding is important to the management, protection, and interpretation of these non-renewable resources.  colorful arrowhead on black background Series: Intermountain Park Science 2021 Integrating Research and Resource Management in Intermountain National Parks Group of National Park Service staff and volunteers standing in front of a desert canyon. Agency of Access: Public Architecture in Mesa Verde NP Analyses across the Mesa Verde landscape and through time show changes in accessibility suggest how communities may have responded to social, cultural, and environmental conditions. Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Water Resources on the Colorado Plateau Describes the origin, uses, threats to, and conservation of water on the Colorado Plateau. Dark green body of water winding through red rock formations with brilliant sun overhead. Ranger Roll Call, 1930-1939 Few women worked in uniformed positions in the 1930s but those who did weren't only ranger-checkers or ranger-naturalists. Jobs as guides, historians, archeologists, and in museums opened to more women. Seven women in Park Service uniforms stand in line inside a cave. Ranger Roll Call, 1940-1949 Only a small number of women held temporary ranger positions in national parks during World War II. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, national monuments in the Southwest, and historical sites in the East continued to employ more women. Although a few women veterans benefitted from post-war veteran hiring programs, most veterans were men and permanent positions became even more difficult for women to get. Catherine Byrnes and Barbara Dickinson stand outside modeling the NPS uniform. Ranger Roll Call, 1950-1959 In the 1950s, women in uniform continue to work as guides, historians, and archeologists. Few women had permanent positions. A handful of women began to get seasonal ranger-naturalists positions at large national parks for the first time in two decades. Ann Livesay in her NPS uniform standing in front of a low wall at the edge of the Grand Canyon. National Parks in the History of Science: Dendrochronology (Video) Scientists around the world use tree rings to understand past climates, ecosystems, and cultures. The study of tree rings to understand the past is called dendrochronology. This field of science began in several national parks in the Southwest: Mesa Verde, Aztec Ruins, Chaco Culture, and others. a black and white photo of tree rings close up Series: Parks in Science History Parks in Science History is a series of articles and videos made in cooperation with graduate students from various universities. They highlight the roles that national parks have played in the history of science and, therefore, the world's intellectual heritage. A woman looking through binoculars 2021 National Park Service Aviation Awards In 2021, the National Park Service Aviation Program awarded the Excellence in Mentorship Aviation Award, the Tom Clausing Aviation All Risk (Hazard) Program Award, Aviator of the Year Award, and the Wright Brothers Aviation Safety Award. Five men and a woman stand surrounding a Mesa Verde Helitack sign. Two men hold awards.

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