Guadalupe Mountains National Park to waive fees for Veterans Day

Guadalupe Mountains National Park Superintendent Dennis A. .Vásquez announced that as fall colors comes to a close, the park will join America's 400 other national park units in offering everyone free admission from Nov. 9 -11, 2013 in honor of those that serve and have served in the United States military.

“Guadalupe Mountains National Park has several military bases and institutions nearby, including Fort Bliss, Cannon Air Force Base and the New Mexico Military Institute, and Texas and New Mexico are home to many veterans,”said Vasquez. “We are proud to honor them by waiving the park entrance fee for all park visitors on Veterans Day Weekend. Active duty military personnel and military dependents will be able to obtain the free American the Beautiful Annual Military Pass this weekend, and everyday, at the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Just bring your active duty military or dependents identification.

“Every national park tells a part of the American story, and many of the parks have a direct connection to those who have served in the military through the years,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B.Jarvis. “I invite everyone to come to a national park to commemorate Veterans Day, whether it is to learn more about those who have given so much to defend our freedoms or to simply enjoy the beauty and majesty of the land they fought to protect.

Veterans Day weekend is the last of the National Park Service entrance fee free days for 2013. More information is availableathttp://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm. The park's schedule of activities for the weekend follows:

Friday, Nov. 8, 2013

6:30 PM. Butterfield Overland Mail

Evening Program. Join Student Conservation Association Intern Mike Raymonds on a journey back in time, on this colorful living history program and learn about the Butterfield Overland Mail, one of the first attempts at overland, transcontinental mail service in the United States. Pine Springs Visitor Center Auditorium. 45 minutes. Free.

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013

8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Historic Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum

Open House. Learn about the peoples who have inhabited and passed through the Guadalupe Mountains throughout the years. The museum includes exhibits on the Mescalero Apache and U.S. Cavalry, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry who patrolled the Guadalupes and maintained a supply depot in Pine Springs.

9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Historic Pratt Cabin

Open House. Historic Pratt Cabin was once the summer vacation home of Petroleum Engineer Wallace Pratt, who was prominent in thecreation of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and his family. The cabin is located in McKittrick Canyon, 2.4 miles from the McKittrick Canyon Contact Station on the McKittrick Canyon Trail. Accessible by hiking only.

10:00 AM. Photographing Fall Colors Photography Walk

Guided Walk. Join Artist-In-Residence David Lee Cook for this photography walk to Smith Spring. Learn how to take the best photos that your DSLR, “point and shoot” or cell phone camera can take and create your own Fall Colors masterpieces. This moderate hike is 2.3 miles, has a 400 foot elevation gain and the trail is rocky. Bring your camera, food, water and snacks, and wear clothing suitable for changing weather conditions and sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Meet at the Frijole Ranch Parking Area. 2½ hours. Free.

1:00 PM. Smith Spring Guided Hike

Guided Hike. Join Texas Master Naturalist John Miller on this guided hike through historic Frijole Ranch to Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring, and enjoy the beauty of Fall Colors. This moderate hike is 2.3 miles, has a 400 foot elevation gain and the trail is rocky. Bring your camera, food,water and snacks, and wear clothing suitable for changing weather conditions and sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Meet at the Frijole Ranch Trailhead. 2 hours.Free.

2:00 PM. From High Tide to High Desert: Water in the Guadalupes

Patio Talk. Join National Park Ranger Michael Haynie for this evening program about nature's “greatest shape shifter,” water. Water has brought the greatest change to the Guadalupes, from the creation of a reef and the carving of canyons, to a dramatic transition from the last Ice Age to today's hot, arid Chihuahuan Desert, and has played a large role in determining the shape of the land and how animals and people interact with their environment. Discover how knowing where water was and where it is or isn't today explains some of the most spectacular features of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Meet at the Pine Springs Visitor Center Front Patio. 20-30minutes. Free.

6:00 PM. The Dark Night at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Evening Patio Talk. Join National Park Ranger Holly Bailey for a discussion on the problem of light pollution, which degrades our treasured Night Sky. Meet at the Dog Canyon Ranger Station Front Porch. 15minutes. Free

.6:30 PM. Elk in the Guadalupe Mountains

Evening Program. Join National Park Ranger Jake Bussey for this evening program, and learn about elk genealogy, habits, and presence in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Pine Springs Visitor Center Auditorium.Free.

Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013

8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Historic Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum

Open House. Learn about the peoples who have inhabited and passed through the Guadalupe Mountains throughout the years. The museumi ncludes exhibits on the Mescalero Apache and U.S. Cavalry, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry who patrolled the Guadalupes and maintained a supply depot in Pine Springs.

9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Historic Pratt Cabin

Open House. Historic Pratt Cabin was once the summer vacation home of Petroleum Engineer Wallace Pratt, who was prominent in the creation ofGuadalupe Mountains National Park, and his family. The cabin is located in McKittrick Canyon, 2.4 miles from the McKittrick Canyon Contact Station on the McKittrick Canyon Trail. Accessible by hiking only.

10:00 AM. Smith Spring Guided Hike

Guided Hike. Join Texas Master Naturalist John Miller on this guided hike through historic Frijole Ranch to Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring, and enjoy the beauty of Fall Colors. This moderate hike is 2.3 miles,has a 400 foot elevation gain and the trail is rocky. Bring your camera, food,water and snacks, and wear clothing suitable for changing weather conditions and sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Meet at the Frijole Ranch Trailhead. 2 hours.Free.

11:00 AM. Atl-Atl Demonstration.

Patio Talk. As part of Native American Heritage month, join Park Ranger Jon Penman-Brotzman for a “hands-on” demonstration of the ancient technology of the Atlatl. The Atlatl, a spear throwing tool, was used,historically, by indigenous groups around the globe, and is still used by some to this day. Participants will learn to use the Altatl. Meet at the Dog Canyon Ranger Station Front Porch. Approximately 30 minutes. Free.

Monday, Nov. 11, 2013

8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Historic Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum Open House.

Learn about the peoples who have inhabited and passed through the Guadalupe Mountains throughout the years. The museum includes exhibits on the Mescalero Apache and U.S. Cavalry, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry who patrolled the Guadalupes and maintained a supply depot in Pine Springs.

9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Historic Pratt Cabin Open House.

Historic Pratt Cabin was once the summer vacation home of Petroleum Engineer Wallace Pratt, who was prominent in the creation of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and his family. The cabin is located in McKittrick Canyon, 2.4 miles from the McKittrick Canyon Contact Station on the McKittrick Canyon Trail. Accessible by hiking only.

10:00 AM. McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail Guided Hike

Guided Hike. Join Texas Master Naturalist John Miller on this guided hike through the foothills on the McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail.Learn about the beauty and natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert. Thismoderate hike is 0.9 miles and the trail is rocky. Bring your camera, food,water and snacks, and wear clothing suitable for changing weather conditions and sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Meet at the McKittrick Canyon Trailhead. 2hours. Free.

1:00 PM. Smith Spring Guided Hike

Guided Hike. Join Texas Master Naturalist John Miller on this guided hike through historic Frijole Ranch to Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring, and enjoy the beauty of Fall Colors. This moderate hike is 2.3 miles,has a 400 foot elevation gain and the trail is rocky. Bring your camera, food,water and snacks, and wear clothing suitable for changing weather conditions and sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Meet at the Frijole Ranch Trailhead. 2 hours.Free.

2:00 PM. The Hole Story: Guadalupe Mountains Animal Homesand Habitats

Patio Talk. Join National Park Ranger Beverly Swift Pony,and learn about the desert animals of Guadalupe Mountains National Park and their homes during this fun program! Meet at the Pine Springs Visitor Center Front Patio. 20-30 minutes. Free.

The National Park Service provides active duty members of the military and their dependents with an annual national park pass, an $80value, at no charge. Permanently disabled veterans can receive a free lifetime pass to all parks. The passes provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands – more than2,000 in all. The passes can be acquired at any national park that charges an entrance fee. Information about all national park passes is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.

The park will waive entrance fees for hikers; however, the$8.00 fees for camping will still apply. Trails are rugged, so wear good hiking boots or sturdy shoes. Trekking poles are recommended. It is recommended that hikers carry, and consume, at least one gallon of water, per person, per day.For more information about Guadalupe Mountains National Park, please call the Pine Springs Visitor Center at (915) 828-3251 x2124 or visit the official park website Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park Facebook Page or Guadalupe Mountains National Park Meetup Group. The Pine Springs Visitor Center is open every day, except Christmas (December 25), from8:00 AM until 4:30 PM. McKittrick Canyon is open daily from 8:00 AM until 4:30PM.