|Friday, Sep 20, 2013|
Park staff continues to assess the damage from last week’s storm and flash floods, and has initiated repairs. Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum, Ship on the Desert, and several trails remain closed.
Open facilities in the park now include: the Pine Springs visitor center and campground, the McKittrick Canyon visitor contact station, the exterior areas of Frijole Ranch, and the Guadalupe Peak and Wilderness Ridge campgrounds.
The Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum, inside the Frijole Ranch House, and the Frijole Bunkhouse sustained heavy water damage to the carpet and walls, and staff found mold is growing inside. A large section of water line was also lost in Frijole Ranch. Ship on the Desert sustained water damage from roof leaks. Park staff is drying out both the Frijole Ranch House and the Ship on the Desert, and have initiated repairs.
Preliminary damage assessments at Pratt Cabin and the Williams Ranch House reveal that although neither suffered significant damage, both remain isolated, as Williams Ranch Road and the McKittrick Canyon trail both sustained heavy damage.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation reports that New Mexico Road 137 is open. However, Dog Canyon remains closed while park staff assesses storm damage there.
Open trails include the Guadalupe Peak Trail, Guadalupe Peak Stock Trail, Manzanita Spring Trail, Permian Reef Trail, Pinery Trail and Pinery Butterfield Station Ruins, and the Western Smith Spring Loop (Smith Spring Trail remains closed between Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring). The McKittrick Canyon Trail is open for the first 1.5 miles to 4th water crossing; Devil’s Hall Trail is open for the 1st mile only.
Visitors are reminded that open hiking trails still have loose rocks and soft, uneven ground, and many require shallow water crossings. Hikers and backpackers should exercise extreme caution, and all visitors are asked not to enter closed areas, for their own safety.
Several areas in the park remain closed, including: Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum, Ship on the Desert, McKittrick Canyon Trail beyond the first 1.5 miles, including Pratt Cabin, Devil’s Hall Trail after the first mile, Williams Ranch Road and Williams Ranch, Williams Road, the Salt Basin Dunes and the western part of the park, Dog Canyon, and all other trails, backcountry campgrounds, and backcountry areas.
Approximately 45 feet of embankment of the wash behind the Pine Springs Visitor Center was washed away, so that it is now only 35 feet from the Pinery Butterfield Station Ruins. One of the stone benches at Smith Spring was washed away.
Part of Williams Road and the salt flats on the park’s western flank remain under water. A large section of fiber optic line that the Dell Telephone Company maintains in the park’s housing area, which was buried at least four feet underground, was washed away. Park staff continues to assess the damage from the storm and flooding. However, several trails sustained damage, and remain closed with many areas washed out and laden with debris.
The National Weather Service reported that the Bowl recorded 12.41 inches of rain during a 24-hour period starting September 11th, Dog Canyon recorded 9.50 inches, McKittrick Canyon recorded 7.32 inches, and the Pinery recorded 5.12 inches. The Texas Tech University West Texas Mesonet (http://www.mesonet.ttu.edu) weather station, located near the park’s fire cache, registered 15.73 inches of rain between September 9th and 14th, including 13.50 inches during a 24-hour period starting on September 12th.
Park information, including park conditions, closures or restrictions, weather and program information, may be found on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/GUMO/, on the park’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Guadalupe.Mountains/, or by contacting the Pine Springs Visitor Center at (915) 828-3251 x2124. Motorists traveling past the park along Texas Highway 62/180 may tune in to the park’s Traveller Information System radio broadcast at 1560 AM for up-to-date park information.