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Habitat Restoration at Gila Cliff Dwellings NM

August 21, 2015, 9:00 am - August 23, 2015, 3:00 pm

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico

REGISTER HERE: Friday, August 21 – Sunday, August 23

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located approximately 2 hours north of Silver City, New Mexico. Surrounded by over 3 million acres of National Forest, the Monument is an important Ancestral Puebloan cultural site but is also managed for its natural qualities.

Travel time from our office in Tucson is just under 5 hours. Although the distance from Silver City is only 44 miles via State Highway 15, the travel time is approximately two hours due to twisting and winding mountain terrain.

For more information, see the National Park Service’s official website: www.nps.gov/gicl 


Overview Map: http://mapq.st/1Mxo0Du
We will be in touch with participants about caravanning and carpooling!

Take State Highway 15 north from Silver City. Although the distance from Silver City is only 44 miles, the travel time is approximately two hours due to twisting and winding mountain terrain. An alternative route from Silver City is along State Highway 35 and goes through the Mimbres Valley. Even though it is 25 miles longer than Highway 15, it is less winding, wider, more level, and easier to travel; therefore it takes about the same amount of time to drive. NOTE: If your vehicle, travel trailer, or RV is over 20 feet in length, you should take Highway 35.

Sky Island Alliance is teaming up with the National Park Service to restore a recently-burned hillslope near the main ruin loop at the Monument. Volunteers will be tasked with eradicating non-native plants (to be identified by SIA personnel) and installing native plants in their place. The work will require repeated trips to carry materials up and down the trail, potentially including logs. The hillslope sits just above the riparian zone of the scenic Gila River and our efforts are essential to make sure these fragile soils are not lost via erosion. All tools will be provided by Sky Island Alliance. We’ll be bending, digging, and hauling materials  on uneven surfaces and participants need to be prepared to get dirty.

Friday’s plan is to arrive at the site and set up camp. Local participants may arrive by 7:30 a.m. on Saturday ready to work – please be sure to let us know when to expect you. We will break into teams and work all day Saturday, August 22nd and most of the day on Sunday, August 23rd to stabilize the hillslope and install new plantings. We will depart the site by 3pm on Sunday, August 23rd to return to Tucson by late evening.

We will camp at one of the campgrounds immediately down the road from the work area (TBD). Due to its remote setting, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a “You Pack it In, You Pack it Out” area, meaning there are no trash cans available for visitors. Once you see the access into the site, you will understand. Participants are responsible for providing all camping gear (sleeping bag, tent, pad, etc.) and food provisions for themselves for the duration of the project.

Other important points: 

  • Bring your own meals for the weekend – a minimum of 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners, with snacks. 
  • Potable water is available in some areas such as the Visitor Center. Plan on bringing enough to satisfy your needs for the entire weekend just in case.
  • Be prepared to unplug – there is virtually no cellphone service at Gila Cliff Dwellings N.M.
  • Bring work clothes and appropriate close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You may want sandals for walking in the river. 
  • Bringing both rain gear and insect repellent is a good idea this time of year!

Volunteers are required to sign our liability waivers once annually- SIA staff will have extras on hand.  This is a family-friendly trip: let us know if you plan to bring any youngsters and if there are any special concerns.

For more information, please contact Christopher Morris, Restoration Coordinator, at christopher@skyislandalliance.org, or 520-624-7080 ext 24.


August 21, 2015, 9:00 am
August 23, 2015, 3:00 pm
Event Category:


520-624-7080 x24


Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Glenwood, NM United States + Google Map