Mesa Verde National Park Opens, Sort Of

06/24/2020

You may not be able to tour the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, but you can still enjoy the cultural history and magnificent environment from the rim drives.

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YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO DESCEND INTO THE CANYONS OF MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK TO EXPERIENCE THE CLIFF DWELLINGS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, BUT YOU CAN STILL EXPERIENCE SOME OF THE PARK'S RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE FROM YOUR CAR. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY NICE ELECTRICAL SERVICES IN CORTEZ AND WHOLE HEALTH FAMILY MEDICINE IN DURANGO. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS. SORT OF. THE RESEARCH AND VISITOR CENTER AT THE ENTRANCE IS CLOSED AS ARE THE CHAPIN MESA ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM, THE WETHERILL MESA ROAD AND TRAILS, AND ALL CLIFF DWELLINGS. NO TOURS ARE OFFERED AT THIS TIME. BUT YOU CAN TAKE A GUIDED DRIVING TOUR ON THE MESA TOP LOOP, THE CLIFF PALACE AND BALCONY HOUSE LOOP, AND SEE SPRUCE TREE HOUSE FROM THE MUSEUM PARKING LOT. SHORT HIKES ALSO ARE OPEN TO SEE THE FAR VIEW ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE. OTHER TRAILS MAY BE CLOSED DUE TO EXTREME FIRE DANGER. WHILE YOU CAN'T TAKE TOURS, CHRISTY BROWN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER WITH MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, SAYS YOU CAN STILL ENJOY WHAT THE PARK HAS TO OFFER.
YOU CAN SEE CLIFF PALACE FROM AN OVERLOOK. YOU CAN SEE BALCONY HOUSE FROM A SHORT TRAIL. THE MESA TOP AND CLIFF PALACE DRIVING LOOPS BOTH OFFER REALLY GREAT PERSPECTIVES ONTO THE HISTORY OF THE ANCESTRAL PUEBLO PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS THEIR HOME FOR SUCH A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. AND THEN THEY CAN SEE SPRUCE TREE HOUSE UP A LITTLE CLOSER. SPRUCE TREE HOUSE IS STILL CLOSED DUE TO THE ROCKFALL CONCERNS, BUT YOU CAN SEE THAT FROM THE OVERLOOK. RIGHT NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BE UP THERE BECAUSE OUR WILDFLOWERS ARE JUST GOING CRAZY. EVEN THOUGH WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF MOISTURE, ALTHOUGH THE CACTUS ARE JUST VIBRANT AND BEAUTIFUL. WE HAVE A FEW NATIVE PLANT GARDENS ALONG THE WAY. ENTRY INTO THE PARK REQUIRES A CREDIT CARD TO PURCHASE TICKETS THROUGH A SELF-SERVE KIOSK. THE MOREFIELD CAMPGROUND IS OPEN FOR CAMPING, BUT NO FIRES ARE ALLOWED. FAR VIEW LODGE, THE TERRACE CAFE AND GIFT SHOP ARE OPEN AS ARE THE SPRUCE TREE CAFE AND GIFT SHOP AT THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. BE PREPARED TO ORDER YOUR FOOD TO GO, BUT PICNIC AREAS ARE OPEN FOR DINING. PUBLIC RESTROOMS ARE AVAILABLE. AT THE ENTRANCE, THE VISITORS CENTER WILL BE CLOSED FOR A LITTLE LONGER, BUT THE MESA VERDE MUSEUM ASSOCIATION WILL OPEN ITS BOOK STORE ON SATURDAY, JUNE 27TH, WITH SOCIAL-DISTANCING MEASURES IN PLACE. BROWN SAID THE PARK WILL OPEN MORE  FACILITIES AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AS CONDITIONS ALLOW.
IT DEPENDS ON WHAT THE LOCAL CASE NUMBER LOOKS LIKE WHETHER . . . WE DEFINITELY RELY ON INPUT FROM OUR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT ABOUT THE DECISIONS THAT WE MAKE.MONTEZUMA COUNTY REPORTED 68 CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 AS OF JUNE 22ND, WITH 22 CASES, OR MORE THAN A THIRD OF THE TOTAL INFECTIONS, OCCURRING SINCE JUNE 1ST. IN CONTRAST, LA PLATA COUNTY REPORTED 98 CONFIRMED CASES SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN WITH ONLY 9 CASES, FEWER THAN 10 PERCENT, OCCURRING SINCE JUNE 1ST. IF YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VISITING MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, VISIT THE PARK'S WEB SITE AT N P S DOT GOV SLASH M E V E. TO LEARN ABOUT ARAMARK CONCESSIONS AND SERVICES, INCLUDING RESTAURANTS AND LODGING, CHECK VISIT MESA VERDE DOT COM. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.

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