In 1944 during WW II the USFS decided to use a bear to spread the fire prevention message. They named him after a New York Assistant Fire Chief, "Smokey" Joe Martin. May 9, 1950, in the aftermath of a devastating fire in the Capitan Mountains, a badly burned cub was found. He became the living symbol of fire prevention, Smokey Bear. When Smokey grew old, plans were made for his retirement. The people of Capitan wanted their bear to be returned to his hometown. Upon his death in 1976, Smokey was flown home and buried in what is now Smokey Bear Historical Park.It became the only Park in New Mexico to be run by NM State Forestry. A ten minute movie provided to begin your tour. Exhibits on the history of the fire prevention program, black bears, forest health, fire ecology, wildland/urban interface and fire safety are offered. The Park is a two acre stroll with handicap accessibility through the replicated climate zones of New Mexico. Smokey's grave is located in a serene corner of the Park, much like the Capitan Mountains where he was found. Spring,Summer and Fall offer a variety of native birds and wildflowers. There is a playground for kids with a fire tower, climbing wall, fire engine and swings. Adjacent to the playground are picnic tables and restrooms for the visitor's convenience. Smokey Bear Historical Park is day-use only. It is open daily from 9-5. Admission is $2 for adults & $1 for kids 7-12, 6 & under are free. Only service dogs are allowed at the Park.