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Bandelier National Monument among parks relying on private partnerships

Colton Shone
October 12, 2017 06:32 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The National Park Service manages hundreds of sites across the county. Many need repairs that cost billions, and there is a shortage of money for these repairs coming from Congress.

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Some are using private partnerships to get things done.

Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico attracts thousands of visitors every year. The free shuttle bus is a way to deal with an increase in visitors and limited parking. It's just one partnership the monument has with the county.

"Partnerships are key to what we do here," said Jason Lott, the superintendent for the monument. "For a true partnership, all of us are getting something out of it."

"We've expanded so much [that] we've had to hire seasonal drivers just to come in and provide this service," added James Barela with Atomic City Transit.

Last year, the monument's maintenance backlog totaled more than $23 million dollars, but partnerships help cut costs and keep the site going for years to come.

Here's another example. On the way to Bandelier, fresh asphalt on the road covers another partnership project with the county. It replaces a couple of miles of an outdated underground electrical system at the monument.

"Some of those power figures cost around $50,000 to be able to bring in a contractor," said Joseph Gurule with the monument.

"We kind of value engineers, certain things along the way where we were able to save the park additional monies," added Rafael de la Torre with the Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities.

Another partnership connects local Native American students with monument staff to repair the remnants of their ancestors' pueblo homes.

"It has more meaning when the people who are descendants of the people who lived here come in here and working and, at the same time, learning about who they are," Myron Gonzales with the monument said.

Credits

Colton Shone

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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