Carlsbad Caverns National Park expects to have its full elevator service restored in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Supplied Industrial Solutions (SIS) of Granite City, Ill., is progressing on schedule with the installation of new steel reinforcing beams and wall anchors in the elevator hoistway at the Caverns.
The elevators were taken out of service in early November 2015 due to safety concerns and have been unavailable since. Visitors over the past six months have been required to both enter and exit the caves via the natural entrance, which has proven too strenuous a prospect for many due to the extreme steepness of the uphill walk.
After the beams are installed, Gerald Henry, an experienced elevator technician with HH Angus of Dallas, Texas, will troubleshoot and adjust safety devices on the car, which is expected to take several days. Once any needed adjustments are completed, an independent inspector will verify and validate the repair work complies with elevator industry standards. The inspector will then issue a “Certificate of Inspection,” which will allow the elevators to be brought back into service.
“We anticipate providing elevator service to our visitors on Memorial Day weekend, the kickoff for our busy summer season,” said Doug Neighbor, Carlsbad Caverns superintendent. “We have been very happy with the work that Hall Machinery and SIS has done.”
Additionally, on May 27, the Visitors’ Center will change to its extended summer hours, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Bat Flight Programs will begin at 7:30 p.m. nightly (program times change as the season progresses).
Self-guided tours are available daily into the cavern. Ranger-guided tours are also being offered this summer into King’s Palace, Hall of the White Giant, Slaughter Canyon Cave, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, and Spider Cave. Reservations for guided tours may be made at www.recreation.gov.
For more information on park regulations, visitation, or park tours, call 575-785-2232 or visit www.nps.gov/cave.