Smokey Bear Historical Park, New Mexico
Smokey Bear Historical Park in Capitan, New Mexico is a tribute to the most beloved symbol of forest fire prevention--and the actual resting place of the real Smokey.
The U.S. Forest Service chose a bear to illustrate its fire-prevention program in 1944. Six years later, a 4-pound cub was found after a disastrous fire in the Capitan Mountains. A forest ranger nursed the burned cub back to health, and it became the living representation of Smokey, residing for years at the famous National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
The park offers exhibits on forest fires, a video about the history of the Smokey Bear campaign and the grave site of the beloved bear, which died in 1976.
A museum and gift shop are in a log cabin next to the park. Another museum featuring antique firefighting tools is across the road.
Capitan is a small community of ranchers and artists on U.S. Highway 380, about 70 miles west of Roswell. The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Days; a nominal admission fee is charged.
To learn more, call 1-505/354-2748.