National Park News in May 2021. This month only two news stories jumped out at me that will affect travelers over the next several months.
2021 Star Parties
Fort Union National Monument is resuming its star parties. Beginning Saturday, May 22, 2021. The solitude, remoteness, and arid landscapes of Fort Union National Monument make it an ideal place for looking at a naturally dark sky. At night, the sky over the high prairie gives way to the glow of stars unaffected by the artificial lights. Immerse yourself in the culture and science of a natural night sky. Rangers will guide visitors through the remains of the old fort. Then help them identify distant stars and galaxies with the naked eye and telescopes.
Gates to this international dark sky designated park will re-open at 7:30 pm. Weather permitting the program will be held at the front of the visitors center from 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Please bring water and a jacket. To assure the safety of our staff and visitors, participants must wear a mask and social distance.
To reach Fort Union take exit 366 off I-25 at Watrous, NM on onto State Highway 161, then go 8 miles west to the park.
Contract Awarded for Cedar Breaks Visitor Contact Station
Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, Cedar Breaks National Monument preserves the multicolored geologic spectacle of the Cedar Breaks amphitheater. Along with scenic vistas, and cultural resources of scientific interest for public appreciation, education, recreation, and enjoyment.
The National Park Service has awarded the contract to build the new Visitor Contact Station at Cedar Breaks National Monument to E-Corp, a small business in Utah. The Service is working with E-Corp to finalize a construction start date and other details. Construction is expected to begin this summer and last for two years.
During construction, access to Point Supreme will be completely blocked. This summer, a new 2021 Visitor Guide webpage is available online at www.nps.gov/cebr/planyourvisit/2021.htm. The webpage includes information about ranger programs, information booths, entrance pass sales, campground operations, and most importantly restrooms.
The new Visitor Contact Station at Cedar Breaks will serve an increasing number of visitors to the national monument. Service through an expanded indoor contact space, exhibits, and park store, new restroom facility. Sheltered outdoor spaces for public programming will also be built. The design and construction of the new facility are part of the Centennial Challenge initiative. This leverages public-private partnerships to fund major improvements within the national park system. Private fundraising for the new facility is by Zion Forever Project. Zion Forever Project is the official philanthropic partner of Cedar Breaks National Monument.