Youth corps builds new trails in Prehistoric Trackways National Monument
Story by McKinney Briske, Outdoor Recreation Planner. Photos by BLM.
Prehistoric Trackways National Monument (Trackways), located near Las Cruces, New Mexico, is famous for its 280-million-year-old fossilized trackways. The route to the Trackways’ Discovery Site used to be accessible only to the hardiest of hikers, because it involved going up a steep and rugged mountainside, or through a rocky desert arroyo (a small steep-sided watercourse or gulch with a nearly flat floor). Now, thanks to a new hiking and equestrian trail, the Trackways’ Discovery Site is more accessible than ever.
The new trail is made up of two segments: the lower segment of the trail is called the Discovery Arroyo Trail and the upper segment is the Ridgeline Trail. Visitors will be able explore the Trackway’s unique geological topography and spectacular views from the trail for generations to come.
This project is a good example of what BLM can accomplish by partnering with youth corps. The three-mile loop was hand-built by the Conservation Corps New Mexico (CCNM) over two years, using sustainable construction methods to minimize future maintenance needs. Thirty-two CCNM members worked a combined 4,000 hours on the trail (1,000 volunteer training hours and 3,000 utilizing a BLM financial assistance agreement).
The trail has proven to be a success for the public, the BLM and CCNM. According to CCNM, “In 2020, we utilized Prehistoric Trackways three times for trails training for our crews. Moving forward, CCNM wants to continue to utilize the Discovery and Ridgelines Trails for our trails trainings. These trainings are designed to teach crew members who are new to conservation work how to maintain sustainable hiking trails including trail design, structure installation, tool safety and site safety.”
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