ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The National Park Service (NPS) is making changes. They’re closing off 30 unofficial access points into the Petroglyphs National Monument as part of their “Visitor Use Management Plan.”
People living near the Boca Negra Canyon are having to trek a little further as plans on the 2019 management plan are moving forward.
NPS plans to block 30 unofficial access points into the monument to help preserve the sacred site. This has some neighbors questioning the decision.
“It is a shame that some people, that by not helping keep it preserved, have caused more access to be cut off,” said Nanette Morton.
Neighbors who’ve lived near the monument for decades like Nanette Morton said the recent changes have left many in the neighborhood up in arms.
“When they built the monument, they said the neighborhoods would have access, and we still have the little access by Chamiza, but as I said, the older people who can’t climb around the rocks and things that was an important access for them to be able to go out and enjoy the morning and walk their dogs,” added Morton.
A spokesperson for the National Park Service said it assessed 140 miles of informal trail use into the monument and reduced that to a 39-mile trail system. After years of damage to the site, such as dogs being off-leash, people not picking up after their dogs, on top of the debris, and illegal dumping, NPS said it’s taken a toll on the sacred site.
“That’s disappointing because this is a resource. This is a national monument. We all need to take care of that and preserve it. That access was important, but I do understand that we need to preserve the plants and things too,” said Morton.
The national monument still has five access points at the Boca Negra Canyon, Tesuque/Agate, Homestead Circle at Chamiza Elementary, Highview, and Calle Nortena, with access across Paseo del Norte to the Piedras Marcadas Canyon area. The park service is asking visitors to only use the designated points of entry to help preserve the thousands of petroglyphs contained at the site.