Mesa Verde Foundation, established in 1997 and based in Denver, Colorado, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit partner to Mesa Verde National Park. Because the federal government cannot and does not completely fund our national parks, financial assistance is needed to maintain and improve parks for present and future generations. The Foundation raises money through special events, multi-tiered annual giving program and grants to support capital improvements, special projects and educational endeavors that promote an understanding of the park’s cultural and natural resources. Recent projects of note include:
The Visitor and Research Center, with its state-of-the-art collections facility, introductory museum exhibit and film and beautiful new bookstore, opened in 2012. The Mesa Verde Foundation purchased land for the Visitor and Research Center building site and donated it to the National Park Service. The Foundation also funded the architectural planning for the project, which was then built using federal funding. In 2018, the Foundation is supporting the upgrade of the audio/visual presentations at the Visitor and Research Center and Morefield Campground, greatly improving visitor experiences at the park.
Cliff Palace, the crown jewel of Mesa Verde National Park, has suffered structural problems from an unstable foundation on the southern end of ruin, which has caused the site to slide downhill at uneven rates, leading to cracks, falling walls and general instability. The deterioration has lead to heroic stabilization efforts to preserve the structure. The Foundation has helped fund the ongoing project.
Reestablishing an active horse patrol has opened more of the backcountry to hundreds of visitors. Horses provide a practical way for rangers to patrol remote trails and backcountry areas, ensuring visitor safety, cultural resource protection and emergency response. The Foundation funded the rehabilitation of an old barn and corral areas and purchased two horses park rangers.
New Audio-Visual Systems and Screens were installed at the Chapin Mesa Museum and Morefield Campground Amphitheater in spring 2018. Funding for these improvements came from a $1 per night optional charge to guests staying at the Far View Lodge and managed by the Mesa Verde Foundation. The upgrades have resulted in high definition video and multi-channel stereo sound that has greatly enhanced the enjoyment of visitors watching the orientation video, and other videos currently in production.