Trail management plan OK'd

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By Jennifer Garcia

It’s no secret that outdoor activities are important to Los Alamos County residents. Trails provide residents with an outlet for hiking and walking and a way to keep fit while having fun.

During Tuesday’s meeting, council voted 5-0 to adopt the trail management planning documents, which include the trail management plan, the trail policy plan and the trail standards.

According to county documents, the Trail Management Planning package is divided into three parts.

The Trail Policy sets goals and specific objectives to provide for the overall protection and improvement of the trail network. It establishes definitions of types of trails on the network, presents broad strategies for maintaining the trail networks and assigns responsibility for the various tasks.

The Trail Management Plan defines the trails on the network, provides a current assessment of the conditions and needs of the network and details the specific on-the-ground actions needed to meet the goals of the Trail Policy Plan.

Part 3, Trail Standards, establishes specific criteria for the construction and maintenance of the trail network.

Open Space Specialist Craig Martin was in council chambers and stood for questions from council. Council Vice Chair Mike Wismer began the question and answer session by asking Martin how he knows which trails need to be fixed.

“How would you know, unless you walked every trail, every day?” Wismer asked.

Martin explained to Wismer that he receives reports from citizens who traverse the trails and they let him know when there’s a problem that needs to be fixed.

He also said the Adopt A Trail program has also been very helpful in helping him pinpoint problems, but also in helping him maintain trails. Citizens who participate in the Adopt A Trail program help to maintain certain portions of certain trails, as well.

Councilor Vincent Chiravalle wanted to know how Martin manages to maintain the trails within the county. Martin said that a lot of help so far, has come from the Youth Conservation Corps. The YCC is made up of a group of teens that have been doing trail maintenance since last month. The group is paid through funds from the state. “The YCC will allow the integrated maintenance plan to become a reality,” Martin said.

Councilor Ralph Phelps complimented Martin on what he called a great plan, while Councilor Sharon Stover also commended Martin for his work on the trail system.

“You amaze me with all you have done,” Stover said. “It would be great if we could get more kids involved.” She also pointed out that a few of the youth that have participated in the YCC have gone on to enter careers in the forestry and environmental fields.

Councilor Robert Gibson asked Martin whether he had the resources to maintain the trails to current standards. “These standards are just what I’m striving for,” Martin replied. “Engineering standards are different than trail standards.”

Citizens who have concerns or who would like to report a problem with a trail or get more information on the Adopt A Trail program should call Martin at 663-1776 or e-mail him at craig.martin@lacnm.us.

Residents can also call 311 and get more information on the trail maintenance program.