The NMVFO worked on trails Saturday June 8, starting at the New Canyon Campground, and climbing up to the Manzano Crest Trail and working south. I had hiked the crest as part of the Grand Enchantment Trail in 2017.
A few of us camped out the previous night.
On Saturday we split into teams, and cut and cleared many deadfall logs from across the trail, caused by several recent fires. Several two-person cross-cut saws were used, along with hand saws and loppers.
The NMVFO camped at the Mora National Fish Hatchery in northern New Mexico the weekend of June 1 to build new trail and clear older trail. This most recent of federal fish hatcheries came on-line in 1998.
The agency allowed us to camp near a “bunkhouse” with kitchen, which helped our cook Cindy to provide wonderful hearty meals.
Our agency contact, Daniel, gave us a tour of the facilities Saturday morning. This hatchery recycles 95% of its water, unlike most hatcheries that are built near a river, and require extensive filtering and treatment. A close-loop system such as Mora’s gives the ability to raise both cold water and warm water fish, and also helps block outside pathogens.
The Mora facility was given the mission to raise threatened Gila Trout, native to southwestern New Mexico and southern Arizona, after another federal hatchery was flooded and destroyed. Seven lineages of Gila Trout are raised here, and great efforts are made to maximize genetic diversity in the low populations, including keeping track of families within lineages by chipping fish, and analyzing populations genetically to figure out which family should mate with another family to reduce inbreeding.