Park officials have determined entering the alcove to place lanterns in the site is an unnecessary risk to staff members, according to a news release from Cristy Brown.
“I regret that we have to cancel the event,” Mesa Verde Superintendent Cliff Spencer said in the release, “but I cannot justify allowing our staff into Spruce Tree House to place and light the lanterns with the risk of rock fall present. We’re looking forward to the geotechnical analysis of the alcove arch next year. That will hopefully give us a better insight into the current condition, and future steps.”
A natural sandstone arch is present in the Spruce Tree House alcove, just above the cliff dwelling. Early stabilization work was performed in the 1940s, with additional stabilization work completed in the 1960s. Natural erosion processes, including the settling of the arch, have been affected by the early stabilization work, so that modern engineering techniques may be necessary to ensure continued stability of the arch. Spruce Tree House has been closed to visitors since October 2015.