Fun run celebrates Earth Day at Aztec Ruins

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FARMINGTON — People who want to visit Aztec Ruins National Monument or Chaco Culture National Historical Park can get free admission Saturday for the kickoff of National Parks Week.

Fees also will be waived at other national park service properties, including Mesa Verde National Park, on Saturday. National Parks Week runs from Saturday through April 29.

The regular entrance fee for Chaco Culture National Historical Park is $20 per vehicle or $15 per motorcycle, but that will increase by $5 starting June 1. The entrance fee for Aztec Ruins National Monument is $5 per adult. Children 15 years old or younger are admitted free.

Aztec Ruins National Monument will host the Aztec Trails and Open Spaces Earth Day 5k and 10k fun run on Saturday. The race begins and ends at the national monument. The races will start at 10 a.m.

In the past, the race has been known as the Not Quite 5k, but the starting line has been adjusted this year, according to race director Jaclynn Fallon. She said the 10k, which is two loops of the 5k course, is actually slightly longer than 10 kilometers.

The course will take runners from Aztec Ruins to Riverside Park, around the park and back to the national monument on N.M. Highway 516 and North Main Avenue. A map of the course can be found at aztectrails.org.

“It’s a pretty easy, pretty flat course, but it does have a variety of surfaces,” Fallon said.

The course predominately covers sidewalks, but it does have a section on dirt and woodchip trails in Riverside Park, and on dirt in the North Main Avenue corridor.

While online registration has closed, Fallon said people can still register on race day. Registration starts at 9 a.m., and race day registration will be $25.

Each runner will be entered in a raffle for prizes, and additional raffle tickets can be purchased for $5.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park will have night sky programs April 23, 27 and 28, according to Nathan Hatfield, chief of interpretation for both Chaco and Aztec.

Saturday will also be National Junior Ranger Day at national parks across the country.

Hatfield said both Aztec and Chaco have a variety of Junior Ranger activity booklets. Children and adults can complete activity booklets to earn a junior ranger badge. Hatfield said Aztec Ruins National Monument also has a Not So Junior Ranger activity booklet that has its own badge. The Not So Junior Ranger badge is designed for people ages 13 to 130 years old who are interested in learning about park ranger duties. It is an extension of the Junior Ranger program, which is typically designed for children ages 5 to 12.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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