Portions of the Rio Grande north of Taos. The Rio Grande Trail may pass through this area eventually. Courtesy image.
Governor Directs NM State Parks To Establish First Miles Of Rio Grande Trail
Submitted by Carol A. Clark
- Six New Mexico State Parks to Designate More than 20 Miles for proposed trail
ALBUQUERQUE — Tuesday, Gov. Susana Martinez directed New Mexico State Parks Division to designate more than 20 miles in six parks throughout the state as the first miles of the Rio Grande Trail.
The proposed trail would stretch more than 500 miles from Texas to Colorado.
“The Rio Grande Trail has the potential to attract visitors from all around the world, much like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail,” Martinez said. “To help jumpstart the process, I’ve directed our State Parks Division to designate the first miles of the trail. I am looking forward to continuing our work with local, state, tribal, and private partners to make our vision a reality.”
Through the Governor’s directive, the first miles of the Rio Grande Trail will be within the boundaries of six New Mexico State Parks: Elephant Butte Lake, Caballo Lake, Leasburg Dam, Mesilla Valley Bosque, Percha Dam, and Rio Grande Nature Center State Parks.
Earlier this year, Governor Martinez signed legislation to establish a commission to bring state, local, tribal, and private stakeholders together to create the trail. The commission will hold its inaugural meeting Wednesday.
“We are proud to take on this opportunity to create something as incredible as the Rio Grande Trail,” said Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary David Martin who will serve as chair of the commission. “There is much work to be done but with cooperation and support from our communities, this trail can become a lasting legacy for New Mexico.”
The Governor also called for community leaders along the Rio Grande to work together to finish the trail.
“This is a bold idea, but it’s going to take a lot of work and cooperation from everyone involved,” Martinez said. “But if we come together, we will have made history and created a trail that will enchant New Mexicans and people from all around the world for decades to come.”
The Rio Grande Trail will go through potentially 10 counties; 22 cities with a population of more than 5,000; and land held by tribes, pueblos, and private landowners. In 2013, 54 percent of overnight visitors to New Mexico spent time taking advantage of outdoor activities. That’s 58 percent higher than the national average. Among those activities were hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and bird watching – all of which would be available along the trail.