Plans move forward for 500-mile long trail along the Rio Grande
March 14, 2018 07:25 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Plans are moving forward to create a 500-mile trail along the Rio Grande in New Mexico from Colorado to Texas.
In 2015, Governor Susana Martinez signed a bill creating a Rio Grande Trail Commission to look into what it would take to create the recreational trail. The commission gets some state funding and grant money every year, and hosts quarterly meetings along the corridor to get public input.
Wednesday afternoon, the meeting is in Albuquerque. When local cyclist Edward Gerety read about it, he was immediately on board.
"Honestly I can't think of a single negative," said Gerety.
He bikes along the Bosque trail in Albuquerque regularly, and thinks expanding it to our entire state would be a big tourist draw.
“I think it would really attract people to the state,” said Gerety.
When the bill was introduced, advocates said outdoor recreation contributes to more than $3.8 billion and about 47,000 jobs every year. They also said it would help everyone better understand why our state is known as the Land of Enchantment, because they could get an up close and personal view of 6 state parks, four national wildlife refuges and six national monuments along the trail.
Ken McQueen is the Rio Grande Trail Commission chair, and cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. He tells KOB the commission has hired a consultant, who is currently looking into how they can divert the trail away from the river and off of tribal land. He says several pueblo leaders have indicated they don’t want the trail to pass through reservations, which may mean the trail will be broken up into large pieces.
However, by the end of this year, McQueen hopes to have a continuous section along the Rio Grande from the Colorado border to Pilar, New Mexico.
The project is expected to take several more years, but many outdoor enthusiasts think it will be worth the wait.
"I would really urge people to get involved with this because it's a tremendous project," said Gerety.
Wednesday’s meeting is at 1 p.m. at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park in Albuquerque.
You can view the master plan for the project here.
Updated: March 14, 2018 07:25 AM
Created: March 14, 2018 06:26 AM
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