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Mesa Verde National Park moving forward to stabilize Spruce Tree House

The National Park Service plans to begin work to stabilize the arch above Spruce Tree House at Mesa Verde National Park. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
The project will help stabilize the arch that houses the structures

On Feb. 13, the National Park Service announced it found no significant impact on the human environment for the project to stabilize the alcove arch at Mesa Verde National Park’s Spruce Tree House.

The arch protects ancient dwellings built beneath the cliff ledge.

The project aims to help stabilize the arch above the Spruce Tree House dwellings in the park.

According to documents provided by Mesa Verde National Park, the environmental assessment considered public, tribal and agency insight.

Because the project won’t damage structures in the park, an environmental-impact statement won’t be required to move forward with the project.

According to representatives of the park, the project will help stabilize the geological structure that the Pueblo dwellings are built under, helping protect them from falling rocks and other hazards that could damage the structures.

The park service considered three alternatives in the environmental assessment, and Alternative B, which was the preferred alternative by the National Park Service, was selected.

In Alternative B, crews will “stabilize the Spruce Tree House alcove arch and reopen the cliff dwelling for public visitation,” creating similar access to what was available before it was closed in 2015.

“The stabilization design would remove select loose material via scaling, install rock bolts and install several reinforced concrete supports along the face of the alcove arch,” according to representatives at the park.

Project work and support areas will include the construction site above the alcove, an established off-site material staging area and temporary access routes while the project is being completed.

Alternative B was selected because it was the best plan to stabilize the arch while creating access for the public to visit the Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling.

“The proposed action is needed to prevent substantial damage to the cliff dwelling and other park resources and to ensure staff and visitor safety,” the news release said.

The timing of the project depends on funding, but the park service hopes to start the project in the fall 2024.