It seems impossible, but once again volunteer time spent working on trails in 2015 broke a record: over 5000 hours. The volunteer organization that has evolved under the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe guidance is an over-the-top success.
The Santa Fe Conservation Trust provides the administrative support that keeps the Alliance working smoothly through the Trails Program Manager. This position is possible through a professional services agreement with the City of Santa Fe for “City Trail Volunteer Coordinator” services, an arrangement that was promoted by BTAC (the City’s Bike and Trails Advocacy Committee) and funded by City Council. With this support, the Trust hired Tim Rogers as its Trails Program Manager to keep the city-side of trails hopping (see www.sfct.org/trails/sfct-trail-events-in-2015).
On the county-side, Carol Branch of the Santa Fe County Community Services organizes trail maintenance and community events. We also provide the Forest Service with volunteers, coordinated by Jennifer Sublett.
This year the Trust found a home for a key asset: our large accumulation of specialized tools. Many thanks to Murray Brott of A-1 Self Storage for donating storage space without which we couldn’t accomplish dozens of work days on the trails.
A key partner in trail projects is the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society. Many of our volunteers come to us through the SFFTS. Working with mountain bike riders, two new trail initiatives blossomed in 2015: a new flow trail and the Grand Unified Trail System initiative. The flow trail is a one-way, one mile trail in La Tierra which attracts mountain bike riders, both local and tourist. The Grand Unified Trail System is an initiative to link trail networks all around Santa Fe. The Grand Unified Trail System will require coordination among many state, county, city, private, and federal organizations. The Trust received a private grant to coordinate this initiative.
In the County, The Masters Program, a charter high school at the Santa Fe Community College, has built a trails maintenance community service project, training teenagers in best practices. The County has also instituted a Teen Court Program to work on trails.
The City, County and Keep Santa Fe Beautiful (KSFB) are providing support to replace trail-head and faded Dale Ball junction signs; the Trust and County installed an interpretive sign on the La Piedra Trail which has become an important destination for hikers; and the County installed new signs on Talaya Hill Open Space. Trails Alliance volunteers worked with County and City staff to get the signs planted.
The key to the successes of the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe is the way it gathers public and private land managers with volunteers to work together to improve trails. The Santa Fe Conservation Trust’s professional services agreement with the City of Santa Fe provides invaluable assistance to our success.