South of NM Hwy 550 between San Ysidro and Cuba, atop a narrow sandstone pedestal 200 feet high, lies the Guadalupe Ruin, the one eastern pueblo outlier of Chaco Canyon, occupied between AD 900 and 1000, and later occupied by Mesa Verde migrants.
A dozen or so NMVFO volunteers, joined by BLM staff Jackie Leyba, placed sandstone blocks on the narrow steep trail to the summit, for better footing.
At the summit are remains of several ruins, and two excavated kivas now covered with metal roofs. Several others kivas, still buried, are visible from the top, and pottery shards and matates and other remains are easy to find.
Socorro’s Save Our Bosque Task Force (SOBTF) had a trash cleanup morning along the bosque trail and levee road, starting at Otero parking area. Over a dozen citizens were joined by several Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) staff and two buses of students from Cottonwood School.
The MRGCD (AFAIK) provided a dump truck, backhoe, and dumpster.
This was my first project with the SOBTF. This stretch of trail may be included in the Rio Grande Trail that is being designed, and is part of the Socorro Alternate section of the Grand Enchantment Trail.
The NMVFO re-routed trail in the Sandia Mountain foothills in Albuquerque, at the Copper trailhead (near the I40 Tramway exit) this Saturday. On Thursday new members took a class on trail building, and today new (and old) members put these new skills into practice, starting with a safety briefing.
We were joined by Albuquerque Open Space staff Jim, Bill, Jonathan, and Tricia– several recognized from previous projects. They had already flagged the new routes, and we split into three teams to build trail or do rock-work.
This first NM Volunteers for the Outdoors (NMVFO) “trail” project of 2019 was cancelled due to federal government shutdown, then rescheduled when the feds reopened for a few weeks. Kudos to the wildlife refuge staff who scrambled to get holes drilled and find black willows and cottonwoods in time for us volunteers to plant.
John, a staff biologist, explained that we were working on habitat for three threatened species: the silvery minnow, western yellow-billed cuckoo, and willow flycatcher. The flycatchers prefer overlapping diagonal branches very near water (for mosquitoes), so the holes for trees were closer together than in previous willow projects. The silvery minnow prefer to breed in shallows, and the Rio Grande has tended to become a deep narrow channel past Cochiti Dam, so a shallow inlet was dozed to the river near our planting site, and the willows will help hold the bank.
We were joined this Saturday by an Americorp group out of Texas, friendly and diligent workers.