As federal budgets are continually reduced and federal employees are expected to take on additional responsibilities (typically) without additional pay, this often leaves local communities with fewer resources and services. Having worked closely with the U.S. Forest Service staff at our Taos field office for the past few years, this is undoubtedly the situation. There are just not enough staff or resources to keep our forests safe, clean, and monitored properly.
When it comes to local trails like New Mexico’s No. 1 mountain bike trail, the South Boundary between Angel Fire and Taos, the general public has stepped up to maintain trails by clearing trees at the beginning of the riding season. The burden falls on our shoulders.
But this year was different. James Duran, the Carson National Forest District Ranger, dedicated perhaps hundreds of extra staff hours for a trail clearing project on May 5. It was a united public-private initiative with dozens of people, both USFS employees coming out on their weekend and local trail aficionados, clearing our treasured South Boundary Trail.
Thanks to these efforts, the trail was completely cleared of all trees before mid-June. Impressive! As the owner of a local business that profits from trails, our business is up exponentially in part from these efforts. We employ anywhere from five to 10 local people, and they are able to make extra income because of these efforts. And, locals get to ride early this year. Thank you, James Duran, USFS staff and local volunteers.
– Lindsay Mapes, El Prado, New Mexico