Earlier this summer, the Las Conchas fire burned over 156,500 acres in New Mexico, including more than 20,000 acres of Bandelier National Monument. Much of the watershed of Frijoles Canyon upstream from the Bandelier headquarters and visitor center area was burned severely, creating the potential for huge flashfloods.
To protect the historic CCC buildings, the park staff had to remove the bridges along the creek. Last week three members of the Grand Canyon trail crew – Shayne Rasmussen, E.J. Slaughter, and Jim Palmer – took on the task of replacing one of the footbridges, but with a slight difference from the original. Their assignment was to reconstruct it so that it could be readily disassembled prior to next year's rainy season while echoing the original CCC work.
The result is a simple, handsome, historic-looking bridge that can be taken apart in three sections as needed. It took them 14 working days to complete the task, including the planning, and they enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to make it fit the requirements. They say it is the best bridge they have built, and in the words of Jim Palmer, “it was really cool to reconstruct a CCC bridge."