Trail tales

A 2019 shot of the Paseo del Bosque trail.

A hop, skip, and a jump from the moneyed boutique community of Aspen, an abandoned coal mine with a grim history, an environmental disaster one expert called “the worst coal mine site I’ve seen in the West,” has become “a mountain biking park for the masses,” thanks to the grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton.

Writes Jason Blevins in The Colorado Sun:

The word “model” comes up in almost all discussions of Coal Basin, used by the landowners, trail designers, mountain bikers, land managers and locals alike. The single track trails are a model for restoring environmental danger zones. A model for Forest Service managers seeking partnerships with private entities to help build and maintain trails. A model for open space protectors offering landowners a way to marry recreational access with an easement that prevents any other type of development.

Down here in Duke City, meanwhile, just six full-time and seasonal workers strive to maintain about 160 miles of trail, including the fabled Paseo del Bosque, known to many of us here around the old burrito cart.

According to park-and-rec PR person Jessica Campbell, via D’Val Westphal at the Albuquerque Journal, our limited trail money “must also accommodate public demand for new trail segments” in addition to maintaining what we already have.

I guess the Waltons can’t be everywhere, though of course they are, especially when it comes to selling you something. Maybe we Burqueños need a new model.

If you build it, they will come, as folks are fond of saying. But don’t neglect the upkeep of your particular field of dreams.

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10 Responses to “Trail tales”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Its always sexier to cut the ribbon on a new trail while the old one falls apart and then blame the color of the money or some other tired old excuse. Same goes for roads, bridges, sewers, etc. SS, DD.

  2. carl duellman Says:

    i’m weird in that i enjoy doing trail maintenance. however our club seems to only be interested in it in the summer and i aint doing it then. our trails have taken a beating this year. we typically get 60″ of rain per year and i think we’re getting close to 50″ already. plus we had a tropical storm that took out a few trees and laid them across the trail. we’re lucky that we have a lot of trails so it’s easy to still get in a good ride without having to climb over trees or ride up gullies.

    • carl duellman Says:


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      A lot of our “trails” here are paved, more like itty bitty streets with their own striping, signs, and what have you. I’m not clear on just how many miles we have and which entity is responsible for maintenance.

      I’ve always found the Paseo del Bosque trail to be in pretty good shape, but I’m not fussy, and I’m only down there a few times per annum; less often during The Plague. The Paseo del Norte trail east of I-25 was a rough ride last time I used it, and incomplete to boot — you have to zig and zag and it’s just not that convenient.

      But nothing is perfect and the wishing well is always light on pennies. Even the squeakiest wheels have to do without grease from time to time.

      Real trails, as in the kind you ride on them fat-tired machines, I have been avoiding, mostly. Too many people out there who never learned how to share in kindergarten.

      • carl duellman Says:

        the town of milton to the north of us has nothing going for it other than a really nice rails-to-trails that goes almost to the state forest. there is a new connector in the works to get that last few miles in. there are always people on it and i can’t begin to imagine how much healthier that community has become with the trail being there. a few weeks ago i rode it to do some exploring at the far end and ran across a water moccasin resting in the middle of the trail.

        there is an old railroad bed in the town where my mom lives but i guess there isn’t enough desire to get a rails-to-trails there. when i was there last weekend i didn’t see one person that wasn’t obese.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Our rides on the Paseo del Bosque trail are some of my favorite times on a bike. It’s funny that governments don’t use life cycle cost modeling to fund construction and future maintenance of infrastructure. I suppose the reason is that politicians are involved.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I like the variously named trail that runs from the Greenland Open Space north of Bibleburg through the Air Force Academy and B-burg proper down to Fountain. It’s a mix of pavement and crushed gravel, and from where we lived in the Greater Patty Jewett Yacht & Gun Club we could use it to put together long rides that rarely involved more than a few minutes on the mean streets.

      The bosque is about an hour from here by bike — the way I go, anyway — and the climb back to the ranch is always a long one. But still, yeah, top notch while you’re down there.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Three cheers for environmental devastation. Up in Durango, the huge dog park is built on an old lead and uranium smelting site that runs along the Animus R.. I guess its too hard to remediate as otherwise it would likely be a nice waterfront development. Here in Santa Fe, Doggus Parkus is on the old landfill.

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