Smokey Bear Historical Park
Completed in 1979, the Park was established to honor Capitan's
favorite son Smokey, the little bear cub that was found with
burned paws after a 17,000 acre forest fire in 1950 on the Capitan
Mountains near Capitan, New Mexico. After living in the National
Zoo in Washington D.C. for 26 years, Smokey passed away and was
returned to the Village of Capitan to be buried at what is now the
Smokey Bear Historical Park.
Featured in the visitor center are exhibits
about forest health, forest fires, wild land/urban interface
issues, fire ecology, the history of the Cooperative Forest Fire
Prevention Program and a theater showing a 10 minute film
discussing today's fire and forest health issues. An outdoor
exhibit features six of the vegetative life zones found in New
Mexico, an outdoor amphitheater that is used for educational
programs for school groups and the final resting place of the
"living symbol" Smokey Bear. Also located at the park is a
playground, picnic area with group shelters and the original train
depot for the Village of Capitan.
The Smokey Bear Historical Park is located on
highway 380 (better known as 118 W. Smokey Bear Blvd.) in the
heart of the Village of Capitan and is open everyday of the year
except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day. Hours of
operation are 9:00 am to 5:00pm. Mountain Time. Entrance
fees into the park are $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children 7-12.
Children 6 and under are free. Smokey Bear Historical Park
is operated by EMNRD-Forestry Division.
The Park offers both a Junior Ranger Program
and a Little Ranger Program for the children. Ages 7 to 12 can
complete a workbook and earn a patch, certificate and membership
card for the Junior Ranger Program. The younger children, ages 6
and under, can complete a one page worksheet for a comic book and
sticker. Both programs are specific to the exhibits at the park
and teach the fire prevention message along with interesting and
educational information about Smokey Bear and the Park.