Part of Bandelier Monument Closed

Apr 13, 2013

Officials at Bandelier National Monument have closed one of the park's most popular sites due to concerns about its structural stability.

Accessible only by a series wooden ladders and stone steps, the kiva at the Alcove House site sits at the edge of a niche in one of Bandelier's cliffs. It's 140 feet above the canyon floor.

Park officials say masonry repairs that date back to the 1930s have developed a network of cracks, some of the stonework has been dislodged and the kiva's structure is being undercut.

Officials are blaming a combination of erosion and decades of visitor foot traffic.

It will likely be next year before the park can reopen the site. The kiva's roof will have to be replaced and its walls shored up. The job is expected to be difficult due to the site's location.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.