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BLM is working with archaeologists to survey proposed new trails

TMBA has been working closely with ECTA and the BLM on the development of a new trail plan at Horsethief Mesa, which are set to be included in the new travel management plan to be submitted by the BLM in the summer of 2021. The agency is currently contracting with archaeologists to survey the proposed new routes, and ECTA and TMBA stand ready to amend the proposal as needed to ensure culturally sensitive sites are avoided.

From ECTA’s fall newsletter:

ECTA and the Taos Mountain Bike Association took on the development of a conceptual trail plan for Horsethief Mesa, BLM managed property just north of Arroyo Hondo. This trail system is intended to be a destination worthy recreational trail experience, complete with parking and trailhead, amenities and connectivity to other trails. It is already a popular trail, but lacks legal access, parking, a trailhead and signage. ECTA’s conceptual trail plan was submitted to the BLM in the Fall of 2019, and then included in a public scoping meeting on ZOOM this last summer.

There are about 30 miles of motorized routes in the area, and we suggest closing approximately 4 miles due to duplication of routes and ecological damage. ECTA proposes to add an additional 23 miles of non-motorized trails to the 12 miles of single track used by runners, equestrians and mountain bikers, built by Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crews under contract with the BLM. We used the BLM’s Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience in the design, and these proposed trails will be accessible to all user groups.  Below is an image of the proposed trail layout, and here is a link to the Horsethief Mesa Conceptual Trail Plan as submitted.

The BLM is currently proceeding with archaeological survey work on current trails, and looking for the resources to complete the cultural survey work on additional acreage so that new trails can be considered for construction.  We hope to maintain momentum on this system, and anticipate more formal public scoping to get community input by mid-year 2021.