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Montezuma Castle Conservation Work

Montezuma Well
The Well at Montezuma Castle National Monument

Projects Goals

Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot are managed as a single National Monument unit. In April of 2004, VOAz held its first event in response to a request from Monument Superintendent Kathy Davis. At this event, VOAz volunteers cleared weeds and removed calcium desposits from an ancient and historic irrigation ditch. This ditch was built to capture flow emerging from the well to irrigate crops of the earliest occupants of the site--people of the Sinagua culture. Subsequent occupants of the Beaver Creek valley have relied and continue to rely on this water source. Water law allocates use between the Monument and land near the monument that lies along the canal.

Irrigation canal at Montezuma Well
The ancient and historic irrigation canal supplied by Montezuma Well needs regular cleaning.
The Monument is required to maintain a certain flow rate, which is monitored through a flow gage. This is where VOAz comes in. The calcium rich waters of the Well (it also has arsenic, so please don't drink it), leave deposits on the bottom and sides. This plus weedy plants gradually reduce the flow. This must be regulary removed to maintain the required flow.

The amount and quality of work done by VOAz volunteers at our first event led to requests for assistance with a variety of other tasks. We are allowed to camp in what is really a day use area. Grass, shade trees, running water and modern toilets. A very pleasant place to camp after a the day's work.

Camping site for VOAz volunteers



Upcoming Events
There are no upcoming events.

Completed Work
Number of Events: 16
Total Volunteer Hours: 3648
Total Participants: 303
Project Outputs
Feet of trail closed for revegitation: 217
Other (yards of canal freed of weeds and leaves): 425
Other (yards cleared of travertine): 200
Other (yards corridor cleared): 800
Other (Erosion Control): 0
Other (yards cleared of Miners Lettuce): 225
Feet of trail closed for revegitation (sq ft of social trails closed): 100
Other (ft perimeter cleared round historic smokehouse): 10
Other (seeding and repair of damaged landscape): 0
Other (Wood loading): 1
Other (ft canal cleaned): 1000
Other (something): 300
Other (Clean out irrigation system): 3200
Other (feet of canal cleaned): 768
Feet of degraded trail rehabilitated: 3000
Other (ft of canal cleared): 275
Other (sq ft of flood debris cleared at outlet): 300
Other (public use area cleaned): 1
Other (sq ft of pond weed removed from swallet area): 120
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 7
Feet of barbed wire fencing removed: 636
Other (pds pondweed removed): 500
Other (various): 1
Other (Canal corridor clearing): 1
Other (yards of side canal cleared): 120

Completed Event Reports

April 8 - 9, 2017  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
14 volunteers gathered for a varied set of tasks: some travertine removal from the canal, this time with water in the canal, so a few wet clothes! Also 260 yards of 'shoreline' were cleared of weeds, woodchips spread over 100 yards of path, the ditch by the garden was cleaned out, seeds (squash) were planted in the garden, and the picnic grounds cleared of debris.
Total Volunteer Hours: 185    Total Participants: 14
Event Outputs
Other (various): 1

October 22 - 23, 2016  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
The water in the canal had been going over the banks, so the canal needed deepening, whiich we did by removing the travertine from the road down to the end of the property. Also we removed almost all the Miner's Lettuce growing in the section from the road up to the Outlet.
Total Volunteer Hours: 175    Total Participants: 13
Event Outputs
Other (yards cleared of travertine): 200
Other (yards cleared of Miners Lettuce): 225

April 23 - 24, 2016  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
Montezuma Well canal narrowing crew

Eighteen Montezuma Well volunteers participated in removing vegetation in/around the canal with 16 bags of Johnson grass and 750 feet of Miner's lettuce cleared. Also volunteers narrowed/fortified the canal for about 50 feet in the picnic area which had been an eyesore and impediment to the water flow for quite some time. Ironic that travertine removed over the past years was used to build the retaining wall. Thanks to all participates and a big thanks to the Park for their hospitality and hard work done by rangers PJ, Tim, and Kevin. Special thanks go to Judy and Sally for feeding us (even washing our dishes!), Lou for figuring out the work and leading us, event manager Sue who entertained us with her accordion and flute, and Gail for the photography and organizing the regatta! Special welcome and thank you to all first time volunteers: Andrea, Grace, Lynne, Michael, and Sue L.
Total Volunteer Hours: 240    Total Participants: 18
Event Outputs
Other (something): 300

April 11 - 12, 2015  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
Montezuma Well April 2015

Here's what we accomplished: • Around the historic Smokehouse a 10’ perimeter was cleared of London Rocket (now also known as "Monte Yellow") and grasses, for fire mitigation. • Russian Thistle (tumbleweed) was removed from 4 acres of land. • 325 yards of the canal had Miner’s Lettuce, leaves and other debris removed. • 120 yards of side canal in the picnic area were cleared of leaves and debris, ready for water. • 100 yards of the main canal west from the picnic area was cleared of leaves and debris clogging the canal and allowing water to flow down to the boundary of the Park! Linda won the 2nd Montezuma Well Regatta and is looking for a three peat next year. Deb won for most imaginative entry - a barge built entirely out of material found onsite!
Total Volunteer Hours: 280    Total Participants: 20
Event Outputs
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 4
Other (yards of canal freed of weeds and leaves): 425
Other (yards of side canal cleared): 120
Other (ft perimeter cleared round historic smokehouse): 10

April 12 - 13, 2014  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
No Report Information
Total Volunteer Hours: 259    Total Participants: 22
Event Outputs
Other (Wood loading): 1
Other (Canal corridor clearing): 1

April 27 - 28, 2013  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
Montezuma Well April 2013
Who needs that other lens.

24 Montezuma Well fans gathered to rehabilitate the historic irrigation canal (better known as “digging the ditch”!). Hard work, but still a favorite event for many who come back every year. A special welcome to newcomers Linda Guinter, Evie, Laura, and Deanna, we hope to see you again next year. Most of the work took place in the canal, as usual, but Linda and Laura got a chance to put on waders and remove a lot of pondweed near the swallet. The whole swallet area got cleaned up, allowing the water to flow out much more easily. Some social trails that we had closed off last year had reappeared, mostly thanks to javelina eating the cactus…but you can hardly tell the social trails are there now!
Total Volunteer Hours: 300    Total Participants: 24
Event Outputs
Feet of trail closed for revegitation (sq ft of social trails closed): 100
Other (ft canal cleaned): 1000
Other (yards corridor cleared): 800
Other (pds pondweed removed): 500
Other (public use area cleaned): 1

April 14 - 15, 2012  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
Well, this trip was a bit of an adventure, what with the weather forecast including rain and even snow! However, the Well lent us some good karma, and we stayed (mostly) dry, and (mostly) warm! Great working weather. There was, of course, the usual work clearing as much travertine and other restricting factors out of the irrigation canal. But Rex had also lined up a few other tasks: closing a number of social trails above the outlet, clearing the corridor all along the trail following the canal, removing flood debris and leaves from the outlet area, and clearing weeds and pond weed off the water near the swallet, and the areas around it. Thank you Rex Vanderford, and the rest of your team, for being such great hosts as always! And a special thanks to our first time volunteer, Kathleen Tucker, and the special 10 pins - Junior Ranger Badges! which went to: Annie Rollins-Protas (20), Daniel Knollmueller (40), and Gail Landry (70). As always, a lot of work got done, and a lot of fun was had! Photos here:
Montezuma Well April 2012
Total Volunteer Hours: 300    Total Participants: 25
Event Outputs
Feet of degraded trail rehabilitated: 2000
Feet of trail closed for revegitation: 217
Other (ft of canal cleared): 275
Other (sq ft of pond weed removed from swallet area): 120
Other (sq ft of flood debris cleared at outlet): 300

April 16 - 17, 2011  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
Montezuma Well April 2011
28 hard workers showed up at this favorite campsite. As always, Rex Vanderford and Kathy Davis had lined up some projects for us: we tidied around the parking area at the Well, removed an old gate, cleared overhanging tree branches from the trail, cleaned up weeds and leaves at the Outlet, and removed some pond weed at the Swallet, also closing off some social trails. And then of course there was the ever-present, ever-overgrown and travertine "infested" canal to take care of! But the great Mexican dinner, the full moon, and the Natvie Flute sounding from the Swallet Ruin in the evening soothed our aching joints, and made us look forward to next year!
Total Volunteer Hours: 312    Total Participants: 28
Event Outputs
Feet of barbed wire fencing removed: 6
Feet of degraded trail rehabilitated: 1000
Other (feet of canal cleaned): 768

April 17 - 18, 2010  Irrigation Canal Maintenance
Montezuma Well April 2010

VOAz volunteers cleaned a prehistoric-historic canal that continues to convey water to natural and cultivated areas within the monument and to neighboring farmers.
Total Volunteer Hours: 316    Total Participants: 24
Event Outputs
Other (Clean out irrigation system): 3200

April 25, 2009  TEENs at Montezuma
Nine vounteers from the Desert Botanical Garden TEENs (Teen Environmentalists Exploring Nature) program spent a Saturday morning reshaping damaged landscape and reseeding disturbed areas with native grass at Montezume Well.
Total Volunteer Hours: 65    Total Participants: 10
Event Outputs
Other (seeding and repair of damaged landscape): 0

April 4 - 5, 2009  Irrigation Canal Maintenance

Twenty eight volunteers were able to clean over 1,000 meters of an historic irrigation canal, as well as trim and prune the entire length of the irrigatiob canal running through the Monument. We also painted one of the public restrooms. Interpretive Ranger Josh Boles gave a very informative presentation Saturday evening. Saturday dinner was from Beto's Courtesy of the Monument. Judy and Carrie provided coffee service andSundat breakfast.

Total Volunteer Hours: 354

Thanks to our event partners: Rex Vanderford, Josh Boles and the National Parks Service.

Total Volunteer Hours: 379    Total Participants: 28
April 19 - 20, 2008  Canal Maintenance & Other Tasks

If you prefer, you may view a fullscreen slide show: Link to full-screen slide show


Most of our group of thirty-four VOAz volunteers arrived Friday night and pitched our tents under a full moon. Kathy and Larry Lopez started the workday off on Saturday with cowboy coffee strong enough to get us ready to work, and a campfire to thaw the ice out of our veins. Five crews completed three projects, the Front Entrance Project, the Flood Debris Clearing Project and the Irrigation Canal Maintenance. The Front Entrance crew moved rock; big, heavy rock UPHILL - 6 men needing pry bars, rock. The end result was a natural appearing traffic barricade and a more attractive landscape design. The National Park Service provided a new front entrance sign to make the transformation complete. The Debris Removal Team cleared flood deposited driftwood and small dead trees from 100 feet of riverbank.

The majority of our effort for both days was devoted to performing maintenance on the historic irrigation canal, lovingly referred to as "the ditch". As Paul Ollig, Lead Interpretive Ranger for Montezuma Castle & Tuzigoot National Monuments told us in his presentation Saturday night, people have been clearing the ditch for over 1000 years in the same way, by hand, starting its the indigenuous builders.

We were treated to another fabulous Mexican dinner catered by Beto's Mexican Restaurant in Camp Verde thanks to our hosts: Montezuma Castle National Monument, who also gave out T-shirts and caps.

Volunteers: Donna Alexander (Event Manager), Lou Arminio (Technical Advisor), Carey Avery, *Blayne Brown, Carolyn Chaney, *Emily Dahl, Lisa Dubas, Mike Fimea, Inge Harper, Robert Harper, Ryan Hort, *Donelle Huffer, Judy Hulden, Sally Kirch (Crew Leader), Daniel Knollmueller (Crew Leader), *Jatin Kumar, Lynn Larremore (Crew Leader), Kathy Lopez (Food Service), Larry Lopez (Food Service), *Mary McKelllar, John Metzger, *Betsy Metzger, Laura Prato, Shawn Redfield (Crew Leader), Marilyn Schrab, *Nima Shahidi, Sue Thiebes (Photographer), *George Vadasz, *Tammy Vadasz, *Geoffrey Waldrom, *Morgan Waldrom, Joseph Zveglich (Crew Leader)- * Indicates first VOAz Event

Total Volunteer Hours: 440

Thanks to our event partners & their staff:
Kathy M. Davis, Superintendent, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments
Paul Ollig, Lead Interpretive Ranger, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments
Rex Vanderford, Park Ranger, Montezuma Well Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments
Karen Hughes, Supervisory Ranger, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments
Richard Formier, Park Guide, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments
Scott Frisch, Maintenance Worker, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments
John Lewis, Park Guide, Montezuma Castle Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments


Total Volunteer Hours: 519    Total Participants: 34
April 8 - 9, 2006  Irrigation Canal Maintenance

Irrigation ditch cleaners working to make canal passable for mother duck and those in her care

Volunteers  tackled various maintenance tasks at the Well. By end of day Saturday, the entire section of the historic irrigation canal from the picnic area to the end of the monument was cleared of obstructive travertine deposits and vegetation.  Also, several folks painted the ranger's contact station and the bathroom facilities located near the Well.  Sunday was used to address problem areas in the canal upstream and fill in erosion spots in the picnic area.

Everyone enjoyed a Mexican dinner complements of the National Parks Service.  In appreciation, all volunteers were presented with a Montezuma Castle gift certificate and a special edition NPS/VOAz bandana.  Special recognition went to Susan Jones who received a 10-pin for attending her 10th event and to the first timers highlighted below.  They say good help is hard to find, but VOAz seems to have had no trouble doing so this weekend!

Leadership Team: Event Manager - Lou Arminio; Crew Leaders - Dan Knollmueller, Fred Kraps, Ted Osmond, Anna Ryan, Ken Ryan, Charlie Scully; Chief Chef - Judy Hulden Work Crew Members: Carey Avery, Judy Breen, Cherie Burton, Ben Collins, Phoebe Hendrix, Susan Jones, Sally Kirch, Jerome Kroll, Gail Landry, Mark Minisce, Linda Schilling, Bill Sowle, Jim Splett, Deb Stevens, "Ace" Tout, John Wiechman (bold = first VOAz event).


Total Volunteer Hours: 162    Total Participants: 24
April 2 - 3, 2005  Land Recovery & Fence Removal

Sunrise at Montezuma Well.

Land recovery & Fence Removal -

Nineteen VOAz volunteers (Kris Cummings, Mike Galwey, Conrad Griese, Judy Hulden, Randy Johnson, Sally Kirch, Randy Klingman, Dan Knollmueller, Gail Landry, Aminda Moore, Brian and Cindy Romanchuck, Ken and Wendy Satoyoshi, Mike Snodgrass, Marge Sparks, Deb Stevens, Jess Wikle, and Lou Arminio) worked on several projects to make improvements to both Montezuma Well and Montezuma Castle National Monuments. Projects at the well included reworking a slope adjacent to a walkway to control erosion, elimination of a social trail, removal of over 630 yards of barbed wire fence, and removal of Malta Starthistle. At Montezuma Castle, a crew covered several exposed patches of dinosaur tracks with dirt to protect them from looters.

Event Outputs
Acre(s) cleared of noxious weeds: 3
Feet of barbed wire fencing removed: 630
Other (Erosion Control): 0

October 9 - 10, 2004  Irrigation Canal & General Maintenance
Conrad and Nancy examine erosion at water gauge

Irrigation Canal & General Maintenance
 
April 3 - 4, 2004  Irrigation Canal & General Maintenance

VOAz crew
Hard working rock quarry, social trail obliteration, ditch cleaning, chicken wire removing crew. Missing: Issac, Ken Gousman, Mike Snodgrass, Deb Stevens (and furry friend) from October 2004.
Irrigation Canal & General Maintenance Photo Album

Volunteers (Judy Breen, Kenneth Gousman, Conrad Griese, Laura Horochowski, Judy Hulden, Els Janus, Jack Janus, Daniel Knollmueller, Gail Landry, Marie Liddle, Peter Michels, Eric, Brianna, & Issac Orrill, Fred Padgett, Mike Snodgrass, Marge Sparks, Deb Stevens and Michael Baker) were able to make it to the re-scheduled event. Everyone worked hard and we were able to complete the priority tasks of social trail closure, cleaning the irrigation ditch, and removal of chicken wire from trees (beaver barriers). Thanks to Kathy Davis and Rex for helping to make this such an enjoyable and productive project.

Total Volunteer Hours: 156    Total Participants: 19


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