Thursday, Nov 9, 2006
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new visitor contact station was held on Saturday, November 4th, at Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument near Fritch Texas. The event was co-hosted by the park and the Friends of Lake Meredith and Alibates. About 75 people attended on a beautiful, sunny, almost wind-free day.
Guest speaker Dr. Jeff Indeck, curator of archeology at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, talked about the 14,000 years of native peopleâs survival on the Canadian River Breaks and extraction of the rainbow-hued flint from quarry pits for tools, weapons and trade. Dr. Indeck also discussed the origins and impacts of the Antiquities Act on archeology and historic preservation in general and on the only national monument in Texas specifically.
Forty-one years ago, on August 31, 1965, Public Law 89-154 authorized the establishment of Alibates Flint Quarries and Texas Panhandle Pueblo Culture National Monument (79 Stat. 587). In 1978, Public Law 95-625 amended the establishing legislation to rename the site âAlibates Flint Quarries National Monument.â The Presidential proclamation creating the only national monument in the state of Texas was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
âOver the years, our dedicated park rangers and volunteers from the Panhandle Archeological Society utilized two pickup trucks with a tarp tied across the roofs to make a shade shelter for giving interpretive programs and flint knapping demonstrations,â said superintendent Karren Brown. âWe graduated from this makeshift method of greeting and educating visitors to a mobile trailer, then a portable aluminum modular structure, and now a real wood and stone visitor building.â
Because of a personal commitment from Mike Snyder, regional director for Intermountain Region, to recognize the unique qualities of the park and to provide a high caliber visitor experience, the park has completed construction on a new visitor contact station, located at the end of the Cas Johnson-Alibates Road off of Highway 136 between Fritch and Amarillo and near the Bates boat ramp.
The majority of funding was obtained through the 20% fee demonstration program in 2003-2004. Intermountain Regional Office staff provided management support, contractual, architectural and construction expertise, and assisted with the contract modifications and other unforeseen expenses during the construction.