The Green Belt Pilot Project
This year, the ECIA Board asked the Conservation Committee to look at the greenbelt trails. Very little is “natural” about the trails in the greenbelt. Created by people and cattle, they are gullied and serve as channels for water, resulting in channels that erode and degrade sensitive soils and vegetation. When a community resident who is a Santa Fe County Rail Trail steward who has been maintaining that trail for the past five years offered his help, the committee decided to complete a multi-use pilot project to assess how well a constructed trail in the greenbelt would perform. We have received approval from Santa Fe County since part of the greenbelts is on county right of ways.
The purpose of the greenbelt trails is complementary but distinct from the preserve trails. They provide a place for all residents who might not want the more rigorous hiking experience of the preserve. The current trails are poorly designed and do not make for a pleasant experience for many residents.
The goal of this multi-use trail, class 4 criteria, is to allow bi-directional traffic for older as well as young hikers, bikers, and offer a fulfilling outdoor experience for newer wide tire “outdoor” wheelchairs. The finished multi-use trail will be safer for younger and older users, definitely require less maintenance, and offer a much improved aesthetic outdoor experience.
In many areas people choose not to walk in the water-created v-shaped trails, so they create braided side trails, trail creep that exacerbates erosion during the monsoon season.
Remember that at this point in time much of the trail is just at phase 1 in the project and there will be much handwork done this summer to mitigate this "raw" appearance with the blending of the trail edges, and re-seeding disturbed areas.
We hope you will support our completion of the multi-use trail pilot project, designed to address the impact of water erosion and trail creep. Upon completion the trail’s effectiveness and aesthetics will be accessed to determine whether or not efforts will be undertaken in other greenbelt areas.
For further information contact the ECIA at 466-4248.