"Bent's Old Fort Trading Post on the Santa Fe Trail" by NPS Photo , public domain

Bent's Old Fort

National Historic Site - Colorado

Bent's Old Fort is an 1833 fort located in Otero County in southeastern Colorado, United States. A company owned by Charles and William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain built the fort to trade with Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians and trappers for buffalo robes. For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major white American permanent settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. It was destroyed under mysterious circumstances in 1849. The fort was reconstructed and is open to the public.

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maps

Map of the Westward Expansion of the Santa Fe Trail for Fort Larned National Historic Site (NHS) in Kansas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Santa Fe - Santa Fe Trail Westward Expansion

Map of the Westward Expansion of the Santa Fe Trail for Fort Larned National Historic Site (NHS) in Kansas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official Visitor Map of Santa Fe National Historic Trail (NHT) in Colorado, Kansas, Misouri, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Santa Fe - National Historic Trail

Official Visitor Map of Santa Fe National Historic Trail (NHT) in Colorado, Kansas, Misouri, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/beol/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bent%27s_Old_Fort_National_Historic_Site Bent's Old Fort is an 1833 fort located in Otero County in southeastern Colorado, United States. A company owned by Charles and William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain built the fort to trade with Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians and trappers for buffalo robes. For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major white American permanent settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. It was destroyed under mysterious circumstances in 1849. The fort was reconstructed and is open to the public. In the 1840s the Arkansas River was the border between territory claimed by the United States and Mexico. Located on the river, Bent's Fort was an adobe trading post on the Santa Fe Trail, where traders, trappers, travelers, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came together in peaceful terms for trade. Step back in time to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the past. The park is accessed via U.S. Highway 50 and Highway 194. From La Junta, Colorado on U.S. Highway 50, take Colorado Highway 109 north 1 mile to Colorado Highway 194, then east on Colorado Highway 194 six miles to the fort. From Las Animas, Colorado, on U.S. Highway 50, take Colorado Highway 194 west 13 miles. Set your GPS to 35110 State Highway 194 E., La Junta, CO. Bent's Old Fort Visitors park at the parking lot and walk the 1/4 mile (1,275 feet) trail to the reconstructed fort where you will be met by a park ranger. Brochures and a documentary film are available in one of the fort rooms. The park store is located at the left rear corner of the fort. Restrooms are located at the right rear corner of the fort. The park is accessed via U.S. Highway 50 and Highway 194. From La Junta, Colorado on U.S. Highway 50, take Highway 109 north 1 mile to Highway 194, then east on Highway 194 six miles to the fort. From Las Animas, Colorado, on U.S. Highway 50, take Highway 194 west 13 miles. Set your GPS to 35110 State Highway 194 E., La Junta, CO. Bent's Old Fort Bent's Old Fort in background with wagon in front; fall yellow cottonwood leaves in foreground For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major permanent white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. Bent's Old Fort Bent's Old Fort with shortgrass prairie, tepee and wagon in foreground and blue sky & clouds above For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major permanent white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. Horse and Mule in the Plaza Two animals are tied to a wooden frame in the interior of a large adobe structure. Horse and Mule in the Plaza Bent's Old Fort Bent's Old Fort with shortgrass prairie in foreground and blue sky and clouds above For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major permanent white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. Bent's Old Fort at night An adobe fort with lights under a starry sky Bent's Old Fort at night Beads in the Trade room bundles of glass trade beads tied together hang from a wooden rafter Trade Room beads The Past and Future at Bent's Old Fort A Conestoga wagon and a solar race car stand on a road with a large adobe fort in the background The Past and Future at Bent's Old Fort Bent's Old Fort Bird Inventory In the summer of 2001 and spring of 2002, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program conducted surveys of birds at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. Loggerhead Shrike National Park Service Transfers Water Tender to Local Fire Department With combined efforts among Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, the National Park Service (NPS) recently transferred a 5,000 gallon water tender to the La Junta Fire Department. The tender will be used locally to move water to remote locations in support of wildland fire operations and prairie habitat restoration. NPS and Fire Department standing next to donated water tender Air Quality Monitoring in the Southern Plains and Chihuahuan Desert Networks Both the Clean Air Act and the National Park Service Organic Act protect air resources in national parks. Park resources affected by air quality include scenery and vistas, vegetation, water, and wildlife. Over the past three decades, the National Park Service has developed several internal and cooperative programs for monitoring various measures of air quality. Cactus and clear skies at Tonto National Monument Streams Monitoring in the Sonoran Desert and Southern Plains Because of their importance, streams were chosen as a focus for monitoring in the National Park Service (NPS) Sonoran Desert and Southern Plains inventory and monitoring networks. Portions of several major river systems (or their tributaries) are found within many parks of both networks. Monitoring water quality from a boat Forts and Park Units along the Trail The U.S. opened military forts along the route of the Santa Fe Trail to protect trail travel and trade. The first military fort, Fort Leavenworth, was established in 1827 in eastern Kansas and is not a national park site. Fort Union and Fort Larned followed. Bent’s Fort, not a military fort but a trading post, was built in 1833. The trail also passed along the ancient pueblo of Pecos, now a part of Pecos National Historical Park. Fort ruins in the snow at Fort Union National Monument Exotic Plants Monitoring in the Southern Plains and Chihuahuan Desert National parks, like other publicly managed lands, are deluged by new exotic species arriving through predictable (e.g., road, trail, and riparian corridors), sudden (e.g., long distance dispersal through cargo containers and air freight), and unexpected anthropogenic pathways (e.g., weed seeds mixed in with restoration planting mixes). Landscape with a uniform, green foreground consisting of invasive kochia Colorado: Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site Erected in 1833, Bent’s Fort, then called Fort William, was at a strategic location on the northern bank of the Arkansas River. Here the Bent, St. Vrain & Company could take advantage of the multiple trading opportunities that the Arkansas Valley offered. The post’s proximity to the Rockies drew in trappers to benefit from the beaver market; it also placed the Bent, St. Vrain & Company near the hunting grounds of the different Plains tribes. Bent's Old Fort with Santa Fe Trail wagon Climate Change in the Southern Plains Network Climate change may have direct and/or indirect effects on many elements of Southern Plains network ecosystems, from streams and grasslands to fires and birds. Russian knapweed (Acroptilon repens) is an invasive plant that has invaded the Southern Plains Trail Beginnings & Geographic Setting Covering approximately 800 miles, the Santa Fe Trail extends from Independence, Missouri to present day Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Trail originally began in Franklin, Missouri, but the trail head was moved to Fort Osage and, by 1827, to Independence. Map of the Santa Fe Trail and National Park Units along its route. Notable People of the Trail Prior to use of the Trail by white traders and settlers, it was a part of the Native American trade network. It was also used by Spaniards of New Mexico for exploration and trade with the Plains Indians. Soldiers also used the Trail throughout its 60-year history. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, including a reconstructed tipi Management & Preservation of the Santa Fe Trail The Santa Fe Trail became a part of the National Trails System in 1987. The National Park Service works in cooperation with the Santa Fe Trail Association, a nonprofit organization, to coordinate the preservation and use of the Trail. Inner courtyard of the reconstructed fort at Bent’s Old Fort NHS More Trail Facts & the Decline of the Santa Fe Trail More than 60 years of life on the Santa Fe Trail ended when the first steam engine reached Santa Fe in February of 1880. Goods such as weapons and cooking supplies at the reconstructed fort at Bent’s Old Fort NHS Santa Fe Trail Links & Literature More information about the Santa Fe Trail is available on the web, and via a list of literature cited throughout the chapters above. Santa Fe Trail reenactment with oxen and horses drawing a cart and a wagon Climate Monitoring in the Southern Plains, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert Climate is one of many ecological indicators monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Climate data help scientists to understand ecosystem processes and help to explain many of the patterns and trends observed in other natural-resource monitoring. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor climate using the scientific protocol described here. Kayaking across a fl ooded parking lot, Chickasaw NRA, July 2007. Southwestern Plains The Plains of the Southwest include the southern Great Plains, the High Plains, Llano Estacado (Staked Plains), and Edwards Plateau. Sunset lights up the grass at Capulin Volcano National Monument Celebrating soils across the National Park System First in a series of three "In Focus" articles that share insights into the near-universal and far-reaching effects of soils on the ecology, management, and enjoyment of our national parks. Fossil soils at Cabrillo National Monument reveal marine deposits NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, Colorado Bent’s Old Fort lies in the Arkansas River floodplain in the Colorado Piedmont section of the Great Plains. Geologic units present at or near the surface of the site are limited to the Quaternary. The surrounding landscape consists of flat to gently rolling surfaces with steep intervening slopes with Cretaceous bedrock. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. wetlands and fort Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Series: The Santa Fe Trail In its day, the Trail served primarily as a commercial highway. The military used the trail to haul freight to supply the southwestern forts. The Trail was also used by stagecoach lines, those seeking gold in California and Colorado, fur trappers, and emigrants. The Trail in effect brought together Spanish and American cultures and. Many interactions, both amicable and contentious, between settlers and soldiers and the Plains Indians also occurred along the Trail. A small amount of snow fills the ruts that mark where the Santa Fe Trail passed through Pecos NHP Series: Southern Plains Bird Inventories Birds are a highly visible component of many ecosystems and because they respond quickly to changes in resource conditions, birds are good indicators of environmental change. Bird inventories allow us to understand the current condition, or status, of bird populations and communities in parks. These data are important for managing birds and other resources and provide baseline information for monitoring changes over time. Violet-green swallow Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Climate and Weather Monitoring at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site Climate and hydrology shape ecosystems and how they function. The Southern Plains Inventory & Monitoring Network monitors climate and weather at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site as part of a larger monitoring program. Knowing how climate and weather are changing over time allows us to understand changes in other natural resources on the park. An old fort building in a grassland under cloudy skies. Making an Impact: Long-Term Monitoring of Natural Resources at Intermountain Region National Parks, 2021 Across the Intermountain Region, Inventory & Monitoring Division ecologists are helping to track the effects of climate change, provide baseline information for resource management, evaluate new technologies, and inspire the next generation of park stewards. This article highlights accomplishments achieved during fiscal year 2021. A man looks through binoculars at sunrise. A Changing Bimodal Climate Zone Means Changing Vegetation in Western National Parks When the climate changes enough, the vegetation communities growing in any given place will also change. Under an expanded bimodal climate zone, some plant communities in western national parks are more likely to change than others. National Park Service ecologists and partners investigated the future conditions that may force some of this change. Having this information can help park managers decide whether to resist, direct, or accept the change. Dark storm clouds and rainbow over mountains and saguaros. Languages of the Fur Trade Successful communication was essential to the success of trading posts in the borderlands of the nineteenth century. Without communication the Bent, St. Vrain & Company could not have understood native customers, and vice versa. Whatever form "speaking" may have taken - spoken words, hand signs, drawings, flashing mirrors, smoke, or the exchange of gifts - communication was intended to pass thoughts and feelings, wants and desires from one group to another. Volunteers in historic costume communicate with plains sign language. Climate and Weather Monitoring at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site: Water Year 2022 This report summarizes Water Year 2022 climate and weather data at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. We monitor weather at the park using data from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Cooperative Observer Program weather station. Drought indices show that the park has been drier in recent years than the long-term average. Knowing how climate and weather are changing over time allows us to understand changes in other natural resources on the park. An old fort with a wagon out front. Green grass blows and purple clouds paint the sky. My Park Story: Emma Stefanacci "It continued to strike me just how cool it is to have our shared history preserved in a way where people can experience it as part of their everyday." A woman wearing a hat and sunglasses stands in front of mesa ruins. Livestock at Bent's Old Fort Historically, Bent, St. Vrain & Company was dependent upon domestic stock for its very existence. Draft animals were used to maintain a constant exchange with major trade centers and widely scattered outposts. Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry provided a steady supply of food for the fort employees, as well as for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Today, visitors to the fort can see livestock who represent the vast herds and flocks once kept here. A park ranger dressed in historic costume works with a team of oxen in front of the fort. Wetlands at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site The importance of wetlands has been widely recognized in recent decades. Wetlands provide many valuable functions, such as providing habitat for fish and wildlife; acting as natural filters to protect water quality; groundwater recharge and discharge; the storage of floodwaters; the stabilization of sediments; retention of sediment/pollutants; and nutrient removal from the water. There are seven wetlands located at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. Arch Wetland, including a narrow band of open water reflecting the sky Reconstructing the Castle on the Plains Bent’s Old Fort was completely reconstructed by the National Park Service as a bicentennial project and was dedicated on July 25, 1976. The state of Colorado strongly supported the reconstruction of the fort, as 1976 also marked the centennial of Colorado's statehood. The reconstructed fort was based on research, archeology, and conjecture and stands as a monument to America's remembered past. A newspaper feature showing a park ranger on wooden stairs at the fort. Plan Like A Park Ranger: Visiting Bent's Old Fort Plan like a park ranger and use these insider tips to have a great visit to Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. A uniformed park ranger interacts with two visitors inside the gate to the fort.

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