In The News

New Mexico Volunteers For The Outdoors Receives The Bob Marshall Award for Group Champion of Wilderness Stewardship Award

From the United States Forest Service Memo:

Bob Marshall Award for Group Champion of Wilderness Stewardship

New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Established in May 1982, the New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors (NMVFO) is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 non-profit organization created primarily to work alongside Federal land managing agencies on a wide variety of outdoor recreation service projects. Highly-dedicated, they are involved in over 20 service projects annually across New Mexico. Not all of their projects took place in congressionally designated Wilderness, but in 2015, seven of their projects took place in six different wilderness areas across four National Forests. Just one example, the inaugural volunteer trail maintenance project took place in the newly designated Columbine-Hondo Wilderness, Carson National Forest, where NMVFO volunteers and horse packers contributed to the “maintenance standard” of 3.1 miles of the Columbine Trail #71: removal of deadfall, brushing, and treadwork. They contributed 264 volunteer hours with an estimated dollar value of $6090.48 to the Carson National Forest and community. Year after year, they demonstrate their deep commitment to wilderness stewardship by pursuing projects that result in enormous benefits to the management and safe enjoyment of these areas. No other New Mexico volunteer service organization participates in more projects annually in wilderness than the NMVFO.

Piedra Lisa Rerouting Complete

It’s not often that we get mentioned in the news. We had two projects on Piedra Lisa, and a third which got cancelled due bad weather.

Piedra Lisa rerouting complete

Piedra Lisa rerouting complete

By Nancy Tipton / Journal Staff Writer

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 12:02am

One of the more popular trails on the west side of the Sandia Mountains has gotten a bit of an upgrade.

Piedra Lisa (Spanish for “smooth rock”) is accessed off Forest Road 333 (near La Luz trailhead parking lot) and affords some of the best views of the Sandias’ massive granite formations, including the Shield, and is a favorite winter hike with the locals.

But a segment of the hike followed a graded gravel road for a bit under a mile and was what Kerry Wood, wilderness and trails program manager for the Cibola National Forest & Grasslands, calls a “less-than-great” experience.

With the help of groups of workers from the New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, Friends of the Sandia Mountains and others, the trail was recently rerouted away from the road.

The change seems to be making both hikers and those who live in the area happier. “I talked with several residents who were really glad to see the change,” he said, adding that mixing vehicles and hikers is not ideal from a safety standpoint.

The trail segment climbs gradually from the trailhead parking lot, winding through the piñon and juniper woods before it starts its climb through a boulder field.

The project is under the umbrella of the Placitas Area Trail Project, which includes the north trailhead for Piedra Lisa and the Strip Mile trail. Planning began in 2012.

The area is three miles east of Interstate 25 and south of N.M. 165. The overall plan calls for:
•Constructing and reconstruct segments of trails using sustainable trail design and construction techniques.
•Rehabilitating trails.
•Obliterating trails and roads not part of the system.
•Constructing designated parking areas.
•Installing trail markers and signs.

Budget restrictions have limited work so far on this project to re-routing and rehabilitation trails to check erosion and move some segments out of the wilderness so far.

Members of the Placitas Area Trail Association have been working throughout the winter, Wood said, and will complete about two miles of trail before they finish in May.