SILVER CITY — The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is scheduled to be closed from Oct. 24 until Dec. 24, due to major repairs to the West Fork Bridge on New Mexico Highway 15, one mile south of the Cliff Dwellings.
The two-month closure will allow for the reconstruction of the north approach and both abutments of the bridge, damaged by flooding in 2008 and 2010. A.S. Horner Inc. of Albuquerque, under contract with the New Mexico Department of Transportation, will head the project.
Any visitors who enter the Cliff Dwellings during the construction period are subject to ticketing and fines.
During the closure, free one-hour guided tours will be available at the TJ Unit of the monument, an unexcavated 250-room classic Mimbres pueblo located just east of the Gila Visitor Center.
Tours are limited to 20 people, who must be present for an orientation 30 minutes before the tour at the Gila Visitor Center. The site is only accessible by guided tour, and tour times and the number of tours offered each day will be determined within the next week, as staffing is scheduled.
Visitors should dress for winter weather and wear sturdy hiking boots for rough and muddy walking terrain.
For up-to-date information, call the Gila Visitor Center at (575) 536-9461 or visit www.nps.gov/gicl.
Visitors are also encouraged to visit the Mimbres Cultural Historic Site just off of New Mexico Highway 35 at mile 3.5, at 14 Sage Road.
The site is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and not only offers an interpretive walking tour through the prehistoric sites, but a chance to visit two late 19th century ranchhouses and exhibits, some on loan from the Contact Station at the Cliff Dwellings trail head.
Visit www.mimbresculturesite.com for more information.
Distributed by MCT Information Services