Over 3800 volunteer hours in 2014
Last year volunteers logged 3880 hours on our local trails. The Santa Fe Fat Tire club logged close to 1900 hours! 1750 hours were spent on city trails and 1200 on USFS trails. These are really impressive numbers and the hundreds of volunteers that put in these hours deserve a huge THANK YOU!!!
Trails in the Heat
The heat has hit Santa Fe and there are ways to still have a great trail experience in spite of the soaring temperatures.
First, there’s the time of day. Early morning, 8 am or so, is a wonderful time to feel the sun but not the heat on any of our trails, urban and foothills. At 7 pm even our warmest trails, like those in La Tierra, Arroyo Hondo Open Space or Galisteo Basin, are so wonderful. If there are a few clouds for emphasis, the sunsets are spectacular.
Shade is the next defense. Our mountain trails on Forest Service lands have the highest trees and mostly they are thoroughly shaded. On the Dale Ball Trails, these are shaded in the morning: #5-#4 from the Sierra del Norte trailhead; #11-#19 off of Hyde Park Rd.; and #27-#28 out of the Cerro Gordo trailhead. The La Piedra Loop at the north end of northern Dale Ball Trails is shaded too.
Events around National Trails Day June 6th
There are 4 events on the event calendar supporting National Trails Day. On June 5th there is an event sponsored by the County. On Saturday Jun 6th there are 3 events: A Winsor reroute sponsored by the USFS, an event at Cerrilos Hills State Park and one more at Galesteo Basin Preserve. Check the event calendar for details about each event.
Why are Trails Retired? by Margaret Alexander (May 5, 2015)
Lots of trails just happen. Folks walk on one route over and over again until there’s a trail. Unfortunately, these trails often aren’t sustainable or easy to navigate. They go straight downhill where rain is caught and erodes the tread into a narrow gully. Little rocks become ball bearings underfoot and wheels get caught in the gully.
When a trail is retired, it’s usually because it’s not sustainable. A new, better trail is planned and built on a re-route. The re-route will use natural lines of drainage to get water running off to the side of the trail. Often much of the old trail is still workable and only short stretches are changed. It’s a very good idea to respect the re-route and to use it.
Removing the barriers to the old trail just prolongs the erosion. Letting the washed-out trail remain is confusing for hikers and bikers–that’s why the old trail is buried under brush and dead branches.
Next time you see a re-route, realize that the old trail was retired for good reasons. Maybe even think about the reasons–you’ll never look at a trail in the same way again.
Lichen Appreciation Moment by Margaret Alexander
On trail jobs, everyone gets tired of me saying “lichen side up!” when they move rocks from around tread edges. Long ago, a staff member of the Audubon Society told us trail workers that a lichen about the size of a silver dollar takes twenty-five years to grow.
Now there’s more evidence to respect the lichen besides its age. In the July 29, 2014 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (affectionately known as PNAS), scientists were astounded to learn that what was thought to be a single lichen species was actually 126 different kinds of lichen. This means the lichen family is on the order of a 100 times richer than previously thought. It’s really a new frontier for scientists of fungi and even more reason to protect the little things.
Dale Ball Trails Work Day, July 29, 2014
Volunteers rapidly turn an eroding gully into a smoothly sloped tread that sheds water.
Volunteers rapidly turn an eroding gully into a smoothly sloped tread that sheds water.
A team of nine, including eight volunteers, worked on Dale Ball Central near Kachina Heights Rd. and Hyde Park Rd. Rutting was very pronounced just above Kachina Heights Rd. due to recent rain and hail storms. The group de-bermed and put in “nicks” and grade reversals from here to about halfway to the high point of the trail, toward Junction 14, which is where the most significant rutting problems end.
The moisture in the soil allowed for easier packing and tamping. It will take another work day to finish off this section. Today’s work also included “armoring” a problematic rocky turn and stopping to assess measures needed at the Canada Ancha crossing down the road, just south of where Dale Ball Trails crosses Hyde Park Rd.
A visitor from Natal, Brazil, stops to learn about volunteer work on City trails. Bike: Mellow Velo. Photo: Juan Alonso.Canada Ancha Crossing, 3/4 mile downstream: Next time, Henry, next time!
Thanks to super-volunteer Henry Lanman for proposing this spot to work on. And thanks to everyone who pitched in today. I know our work will be tested real soon by more monsoons, and I am looking forward to seeing how it fares.
National Trails Day: June 7, 2014
Next Saturday is National Trails Day. On Saturday there will be two big local events.
(1) The first event is sponsored by the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, or SFCT, and the city of Santa Fe. They are promoting the use of the city’s transit system to get kids and their families off the couch and onto some of Santa Fe’s best hiking trails. Click here to find out more information about the event.
(2) The US Forest Service, New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors (NMVO) and the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society are having a work session which will include work on a upper Winsor reroute. Meet at Hyde Memorial State Park @ 8am (lunch will be provided by NMVO). Check the events calendar for more information and to signup for the event.
Dale Ball Day: Fri., March 7, 2014
Consider coming out on Friday, March 7, to celebrate our foothill trails, take a hike or bike ride, and see how volunteer efforts continue to be critical to helping the City and County maintain these wonderful community resources. This is also an opportunity to join volunteers working on the trails. For more information, see the SFCT web site at http://sfct.org/trails/dale-ball-day, or contact Tim Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-7019.
This past year nearly 3400 hours of trail work were recorded and held in a total of 233 events by many different trail users and groups. Projects ranged from new trail construction, routine maintenance, minor trail adjustments to improve sustainability, reseeding alongside treads and general area clean-up and enhancement.
Other big achievements of 2013 include:
• hiring volunteer trail coordinators by the City (Tim Rogers) and the County (Carol Branch)
- Helping the Santo Domingo Pueblo develop a community hiking and biking trail.
- Writing a monthly column on trails for the Santa Fe ‘New Mexican’.
- Participating in development of a new Santa Fe Foothills Trails map.
Santa Fe Volunteer Trail Coordinator hired
The latest trail improvement in Santa Fe is a giant one. His name is Tim Rogers and he’s the new Volunteer Trail Coordinator hired by the Santa Fe Conservation Trust under a contract with the City of Santa Fe.
Tim has years of experience with the promotion of walking and bicycling throughout the state. His professional work on local trails includes developing the Santa Fe Bikeways and Trails Map and creating the Metropolitan Bicycle Master Plan that was adopted in 2012. As a volunteer, he has helped maintain and build city and county trails, guided “community cruises” and mountain bike rides, and worked with a variety of community and statewide organizations promoting trails. He is an avid local cyclist, skier, and dog-walker, and so you may find him at any time of the year on any one of our urban, foothill, or forest trails.
New trails in the Galisteo Basin
Derek’s Delight and Nathan’s Trace are brand-new and can be reached from Thornton Ranch Road. They add to the many miles of trails that already exist in the preserve which was established on the lands of the Commonweal Conservancy located off of Highway 285 south of El Dorado, near Lamy. For a map, go to the website http://www.galisteobasinpreserve.com/trails/index.php
While they’ve been open for over a year, the La Tierra Trails were officially recognized at a ribbon cutting on September 26, 2013. Councilors Patti Bushee and Chris Calvert proclaimed the trails open to all. Santa Fe’s monsoon season was great for grasses and trees around the trail system, but work will be needed to restore the ruts created by fast run-off. Watch our events calendar for dates and times to help repair these great trails.
Opening of the Santo Domingo trails
Dozens of children and adults attended the opening of their new trail and brought along bikes in much need of repair. Stephen Newhall of Rob ‘n Charlie’s fixed over 35 bikes in the broiling sun. If you see him, please thank him. Steve Washburn and David Alexander assisted.
New Foothill Trails Maps Available
You may download a copy of either the Dale Ball and Connecting Trails or the La Tierra Trails maps by clicking on the corresponding links below. Residents and Visitors are also welcome to pick up a complimentary paper copy of the map at the City of Santa Fe Visitor’s Center located at 201. W. Marcy Street, open Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Dale Ball and Connecting Trails Map | La Tierra Trails Map
Fire Restrictions Lifted Forest-wide
SANTA FE, NM; July 18, 2013—Over the past few weeks, constant monsoon moisture has decreased fire danger from extreme to low. Effective tomorrow at 8 a.m., current Stage I fire restrictions blanketing the Forest will be lifted. Areas of the forest affected by the Tres Lagunas, Thompson Ridge and Jaroso fires will remain closed for public safety.
Forest visitors are encouraged to be fire safe. When building a campfire be sure to keep safety in mind before, during, and after you’ve built it. For more information on outdoor safety tips please visit: http://www.smokeybear.com/be-smart-outdoors.asp.
For a list of recreation opportunities on the Forest visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/santafe/recreation.
For information about the Tres Lagunas, Thompson Ridge and Jaroso fire closures visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/santafe/alerts-notices.
Santo Domingo Community Trail
On June 7th, 4 members of the Trails Alliance (Carol, Cath, Charlie & Steve) had the opportunity to work with 7 young members of the Santo Domingo Pueblo. The pueblo had received a grant to build 6 miles of trails in their community and to hire 7 local youths to build the trail.
The Alliance members helped the crew refine trail flow and placement and explained the basics of constructing sustainable contour trails on different types of terrain.
We enjoyed working the seven delightful and committed young Pueblo members (Sheldon Tenorio, Steven Atencio, Tyrese Coriz, Brandon Reano, Fatima Garcia, Ramona Calabaza, Cody Coriz) and look forward to seeing a great trail system in the coming months.
Trail season starts now and we hope it lasts throughout the fire season. From National Trails Day on June 1 to Public Lands Day in September, we have lots of projects to complete. Please check the events calendar for work days and other activities on the Dale Ball Trails, the La Piedra Trail, and the grand Winsor Trail.
Hover on the events calendar date to find out details and then click on the small right-hand calendar for links to registration. It’s important to tell the crew leader you’re coming so that we have the right number of tools.
Last year, because Santa Fe was the headquarters of the International Mountain Biking Association’s World Summit, trail projects proliferated. Now we have a chance to make sure our existing trails are in tiptop shape.
Over the past six months, Jennifer Sublett of the National Forest Service, has led a series of work days on the Dead Dog Trail in the Caja del Rio west of Santa Fe, a vast area of open land ending at the Rio Grande River. Dead Dog is an epic trail, rising from a wide, sandy arroyo to the top of an historic mesa. Because it’s so steep and rocky, the folks who have worked on it can attest to its challenges. Dozens have come out to work with Jennifer and a Forest Service archaeologist to make sure that a sensitive, sustainable trail is constructed which preserves the history of the region.
Dale Ball Reroute
On March 3rd 11 hearty souls worked on reroutes around a couple of troubled switch backs near junctions 6 & 7. These reroutes have been on our to-do list for over 3 years so we were very happy to finally get them done. A big thanks to Bill Lane, Henry Lanman, Berry Gerst, Peggy Rudberg, Brian Thurber, Harpal Khalsa, Margaret Alexander, Chris Sheehan, Cath Washburn, Steve Washburn
and our event organizer Kerry Helke!
Christmas comes early to SFCT and the La Piedra Trail
12/19/2012 -Today we were notified by the S.L. Gimbel Foundation that they are awarding the Santa Fe Conservation Trust $25,000 to make improvements to the La Piedra Trail in 2013!
Specifically, the funding is to: “bring a portion of the public trail to a higher and more sustainable standard, including widening turns, installing retaining walls in some areas to create a wider turning platform and adding steps to a steep section to improve safety.”
We will be working closely with Santa Fe County Open Space and Trails next year to begin the upgrades as soon as weather permits. Stay tuned for more details.
See you on the tail and Happy Holidays!
2012 Round Up
The big news is the nearly 4000 volunteer hours that our community partners distributed among City, County, Forest Service, and BLM trails. Having the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s World Summit in October was a tremendous impetus for dozens and dozens of trail projects. Volunteers came from lots of groups, with the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe providing tools, expertise, and organization.
The year began with work on the brand-new La Piedra Trail which connects the City’s Dale Ball trails to County and Forest Service trails all the way up to the crest of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and beyond. Because of limited “real estate,” portions of the trail are extremely steep and challenging for sustainability. We’re continuing to work on solutions–look out for future projects to improve the switchbacks.
Ten years in the making, the La Tierra Trails network is complete with brand-new signage, trail heads, parking lots, and designated use areas, including free ride, bmx, and atv as well as 27 miles of hiking,mountain biking and equestrian trails.
With enthusiastic Santa Fe Fat Tire Society volunteers, we buffed and polished the upper section of the Winsor Trail, a local favorite. We’re continuing to work with the Forest Service on re-routing to provide better erosion control.
National Public Lands Day was celebrated with a twist–not on public land! While private, the Galisteo Basin Preserve welcomes the public to open land preserved through a conservation agreement. Our volunteers worked to refine trails that had been blazed with motorized equipment.
New trails were also built on the Arroyo Hondo Open Space and Dead Dog Trail in the Caja del Rio. In both of these projects, volunteers worked with trail professionals. The networks of trail volunteers and professional planners are merging in develop Santa Fe into a city of trails.
Many thanks to the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, to the Santa Fe Conservation Trust and to Extra Space storage for all of the help they gave to our trails this year.
December 1 Dead Dog trail work event
It’s short notice, BUT there will be a workday on the Dead Dog trail on Saturday, December 1. There’s little chance for precipitation, so we should take advantage of it and make more progress on switchbacks. If you’d like to attend, we will go from 9-3 on the 1st. We’ll meet at the parking lot west of Hwy. 599 off the Las Campanas exit. To register for this event or for more information call Jennifer Sublett at 505 753-7331 or email email@example.com . The temps. while working on the Dead Dog are typically warmer than in Santa Fe…so come and enjoy a December workday.
As always…long sleeves, long pants, above-ankle boots, leather gloves, safety glasses, and a backpack with lunch and plenty of water are required.
Let’s see if we can’t get this trail finished soon!
November 17th trail project at Arroyo Hondo Open Space was a big success!
This past Saturday 25 people showed up and got a lot of work done! Thanks to everyone that participated.
Check out the article in Mountain Flyer Magazine by our own Bob Ward (one of the core Trails Alliance members)on mountain biking in and around Santa Fe click here to go to the article.
October 10th Trails Summit in Santa Fe
The Trails Alliance of Santa Fe was born out of three summit meetings of trails folks and organizations in northern New Mexico. Held from 2007 through 2009, the summits identified crucial needs which were going unmet.
Amazingly, the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe has been able to meet most of goals for the development of trails that the summits identified, at least in the Santa Fe region. We own maintenance tools, we schedule work days to improve trails, we organize volunteers, and we have a website which ties it all together.
In 2012 another trails summit will be held, in conjunction with the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s World Summit World Summit. The trails summit is being organized by one of the Trails Alliance’s founding members, the Santa Fe Conservation Trust (click here for agenda)
The 2012 summit will held on October 10th from 9-4 in the Convention Center and will take us to the next level: “What our trails need beyond dirt: cooperation, collaboration and leadership.” Click on this link, Santa Fe Conservation Trust, to sign up for an event of importance to people who love trails.
La Piedra Construction has been completed!
A thank you message from Charlie O’Leary the Executive Director of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust
I want to personally thank all of you who came out to help build the new trail over the past several weeks – the enthusiasm and effort was inspiring! As a result, The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is able to announce that the new La Piedra Trail is complete and that folks have started hiking, running and mountain biking on the new trail. And while we don’t anticipate the official opening to occur until June 1st (stay tuned for details), the trail is open. Please know that SFCT is working closely with Santa Fe County Open Space Program on signage and some very limited fencing to address some management issues. We may also announce the need for additional volunteers in the future to fine-tune portions of the trail.
La Piedra April Volunteer Workdays
Volunteers needed to help build the new La Piedra Trail!
The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is looking for help to build this new and exciting trail that will connect the Dale Ball Trails to the Little Tesuque creek trail. We will have three volunteer work days this April on the 7th, 14th and 21. Each work day will be from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
During each event we can accommodate up to 20 volunteers on a first come first served basis: all volunteers must preregister by clicking on the link www.sfct.org/registration.
A twenty minute brisk walk is required to get into the site – so please be prepared for some hiking.
Additional information is available through the registration site including meeting location and a list of personal items we suggest to bring.
We hope you can join us!
The Santa Fe Conservation Trust
La Tierra Freeride Bike Trail Build
Rich Strang has offered to lead six trail work / dig days @ the Trash Pit / Freeride area to build a new beginner line/trail. The new trail will be something that many riders might be interested in using. The 6 workdays will be on April 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29. For more information check our Events Calendar or email Shari Heier at shariheier@gmail
What’s Ahead in 2012 for Santa Fe Trails – There’s a big push to get local trails in tiptop shape for the International Mountain Bike Assn. (IMBA) summit in the Santa Fe Convention Center in October. For example, the Santa Fe Conservation Trust is building a brand new trail from the northern Dale Ball trails to the Little Tesuque Creek trail (the La Piedra trail). New trails are being built on the BLM’s Nambe Badlands. The La Tierra Trails are getting a major renovation with some new trails and signage. This will be a major year for volunteering on our trails.
2012 Santa Fe National Forest Crew Leader Training – If you are interested is training to become a crew leader for projects on local trails and in the National Forest here’s your chance. Jennifer Sublett will be hosting a informational meeting for those interested in crew leader training on Saturday, January 28th from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Santa Fe National Forest Supervisor’s office, click here for office location information. For more information about the training contact Jennifer via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505-753-7331.
2011 In Review
In 2011 the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe and our partners logged over 1800 volunteer work hours on trails around (and in) Santa Fe. The challenge will be to better this in 2012–you can help. Please keep your eyes on our events calendar for dates/times/places of trail work days. Besides hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours, the Alliance proved it really is one: we allied ourselves with 15 local organizations for the betterment of local trails
October 16, 2011 The weather was perfect for the 5 hearty souls that showed up for this Winsor trail workday. We worked the Winsor below Pacheco Canyon Rd for about a mile. Margaret Alexander, Bob Ward, Dan Knobelnoch & Joe Abbatacola led the charge as we removed a few trees across the trail, removed a few roots and debermed the trail for better water drainage. Amazingly we encountered no hikers but plenty of bike riders most of which were heading up hill! Mike Chapman, one of the bikers we met took this picture of us as he was heading up the Winsor on his single speed 29er, the worst part was that Mike was hardly sweating! If weather permits we’ll probably have one more work project on the Winsor this fall.
October 1, 2011 A few of our National Public Lands Day volunteers.
Our National Public Lands Day event was a big success! Thanks to all 21 people that helped give the Dale Ball Trails a fall sprucing up and thanks to REI for giving all the volunteers a “wicking” good shirt, water bottle and trail grub. We worked on the North and Central sections of the trail and really got a lot done. Thanks also to the many volunteers from the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society that showed up. Cath Washburn was kind enough to touch up the signs outside the parking area pointing to the parking lot. The signs were sooo faded you couldn’t even make out what they were for.
“Trails Don’t Just Happen” National Public Lands Day – Saturday, September 24th Dale Ball Trail Head – Sierra del Norte parking lot 9am – education session 9:45am – trail service project
Trails update 8/13/2011: The summer monsoons bring with them a chance to get back into the mountains and work on trails. The Forest Service doesn’t allow work in the burned areas because of the danger from falling trees and rocks, but work on the Winsor Trail and Dale Ball trails has resumed.
Today’s project on the Winsor Trail brought a surprise: Joel Rowland, a geomorphologist, gave us his expertise. Geomorphology is the “study of landforms and the processes that shape them” according to Wikipedia–is there a more perfect match to what trail building and maintenance really needs? Joel eyed each work site from the vantage of a golfer on a putting green, figuring out exactly where rainfall will erode the trail. Needless to say, it was some of our best work. Thanks again to todays volunteers: Dan Gresham (photographer), Vint Miller, Joel Rowland, Margaret Alexander & Steve Washburn
A big thanks to Bruce Hamby from the Fat Tire Society for sharpening all out tools!
Give a Darn – Give a Ding – Our bell give away has been a huge success! We had funds to buy 300 bells and have given them all out. The bells had the Trails Alliance web address on them and the hope was to help reduce the startle factor of bikers approaching hikers on the trails. The bell came with a card that has basic trail etiquette guidelines and information on the Trails Alliance. If you would like to make a donation so we can buy more bells please contact us.
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is collaborating with the Trails Alliance and the City of Santa Fe to build a trail to Museum Hill, beginning at Old Pecos Trail and leading into the proposed garden. The Trails Alliance will lead the effort to build the natural surface portion of the trail.
While our tools may need sharpening, they are safely and luxuriously stored in a unit donated to us by Extra Space Storage at the corner of Pacheco and West San Mateo. We appreciate their very important contribution to trails in Santa Fe.
- National Trails Day – Luckily we got a lot of work done on the Norski area portion of the Winsor Trail on National Trails Day, June 4. Twenty-two workers, ranging from a six year old to a grandfather took part. The trail is in much better shape now. One sharp volunteer found a bed of alpine orchids for us to admire.
- La Tierra Trails – It was a huge success. Nearly 40 trail-builders took a Saturday afternoon to build a brand new connector trail (#10) in the La Tierra Trail system. They were led by two crew leaders from the IMBA/Subaru team. A swooping, perfectly turned trail now is a bridge between two major trails, adding more fun for mountain bike riders. The Santa Fe Fat Tire Society turned out lots of workers, but, really, volunteers from all walks of life participated.
- Upper Winsor Maintenance – On April 23rd we teamed up with Fat Tire Society and several other volunteers (a total crew of 23) and worked with Jennifer Sublett (Forest Service) to “fix” portions of the Winsor above the Pacheco Canyon Road. We got a tremendous amount of work done and had fun to boot! A special thanks to Santa Fe Mountain Sports for providing swag for everyone that participated and to WTB/REI for a mtb tire. This is the first of many projects we will do with the bike club on the Winsor between the Ski Area and the Borrego trail this season.
Join Us and Get Involved!
It’s easy to become a supporter of the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe.
- Check out our calendar of trail events (column on the right; Internet Explorer users please click on the Events Calendar link in the upper part of the column on the right) and contact info@trailsallianceofsant afe.org for more information. We offer free training in the “how to’s” of trail maintenance.
- Do a lot of hiking? Ask info@trailsallianceofsant afe.org about our trail monitor program-help us track trail conditions while enjoying the great outdoors.
- See a trail that needs repair? Send an email to
- Show your love of trails through a donation or gift. Send an email to email@example.com.
- To inquire about business sponsorships and receive community recognition in our Adopt-a-Trail program, contact adopt@trailsallianceofsa ntafe.org.