Valle de Oro Urban Wildlife Refuge gets grant to improve trail access

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. — A new state grant is expected to better connect the South Valley to the outdoor recreation trails that run along the bosque.

Valle de Oro Urban Wildlife Refuge is getting a $256,962 grant to help fund their “Bosque Bridges” project. The project will connect the Valle de Oro perimeter trail to the current Paseo del Bosque bike path.

The money is coming from the Outdoor Recreation Trails+ Grant program. The program supports “shovel-ready” projects believed to directly enhance community access to outdoor recreation.

The project is receiving support from other entities, as well.

The City of Albuquerque is going to match the state grant. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District will provide licenses so the bridges can cross their ditches.

Valle de Oro will have also their volunteers help with the project.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service established the Valle de Oro Urban Wildlife Refuge in 2012. It sits on 570 acres of former farmland which they’re seeking to restore to its natural state.

Officials say Valle de Oro is the first urban wildlife refuge in the southwestern United States.

“Thanks to this grant, we’ll be able to link up the Valle de Oro Urban Wildlife Refuge with the rest of the bosque. It’s an important project that will not only make it easier for the community to access these open spaces but also builds on the longstanding relationship we’ve built with them over the years we’ve been working on this project together,” said Steven Michael Quezada, the commissioner of Bernalillo County District 2, which encompasses the entire South Valley including Valle de Oro.