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Adopt A Trail

By Michele Robertson Have you ever been hiking along a trail in a national forest and thought ‘man....this trail could use some work.’ For some people that is where the thought process stops, and they continue on their adventure enjoying the great outdoors. For others, they continue to wonder what could be done to make the trail more accessible or easier to navigate. They think of all the things they would do if they had the resources to tackle the job. If you are one of those folks who wants to make a difference in your local forest, read on for information on the Lincoln National Forest, Guadalupe Ranger District’s Adopt-a-trail program. “The Adopt-a-Trail program on the Lincoln National Forest is a relatively new initiative for the forest. The Guadalupe Ranger District hired a permanent Recreation Technician who started the Adopt-a-Trail program in that district in December 2019. The Sacramento Ranger District around Cloudcroft started their Adopt-a-Trail program the previous year in 2018. The Smokey Bear Ranger district is looking to start up their program sometime in the near future.” shares Laura Rabon, MA, PMP, Public Affairs Officer for the Lincoln National Forest. “The Adopt-a-Trail program on the Lincoln National Forest is a relatively new program where individual people, organizations or businesses can adopt a trail and help maintain it. Trails require routine maintenance work to keep them cleared, clean and safe, which leads to a quality recreation experience for everyone who uses the trail. The adopt a trail program is a great way for those who love the outdoors to give back and get involved in their public lands. Ideally, trail adoptees maintain their trail at least once a year and after major weather events like windstorms or flooding. The program also helps out our limited recreation staff who is charged with covering 1.1 million acres on the Lincoln National Forest and dozens of trails,” said Rabon. “The Guadalupe Ranger District has 27 trails spanning a variety of lengths and difficulty levels. Within these 27 trails, which are listed on our website, are some spur trails that will lead you to other trail networks,” Rabon adds. Trail maintenance includes building cairns, shrub/brush lopping, and covering up social trails, if possible. Removal of litter on or near the trail, putting in/replacing carsonites and other signage and notifying the Guadalupe Ranger District about anything illegal you come across (i.e. graffiti, illegal wood cutting, fireworks, dumped trash, or other vandalism). “High Altitude, a local business from Cloudcroft, was the first business to adopt a trail on the Lincoln National Forest. They adopted Osha Trail, one of the most popular trails on the forest. On the Guadalupe Ranger District, Campfire Industries, a clothing brand based out of Eddy County adopted Horse Springs Trail (T207) in Jan 2020. Over the year they also adopted Horse

Canyon Trail (T208) and a section of Last Chance Canyon Trail. They completed their maintenance this past winter with great success,” Rabon said. Rabon shared, “right now we are targeting an additional 16 trails still in need of adoption on the Guadalupe Ranger District, including two in the Sitting Bull Falls area: The CCC Trail (T214) and the Overlook Trail (T215), which are some of our most popular trails. ”There is no age limit to who can volunteer, but those under the age of 18 should be accompanied by an adult. Spring and fall are the best times to work on the trails in the Guadalupe Ranger District as summer temperatures can reach over 100°+, “which doesn’t lend itself to a pleasant experience,” Rabon says. “Early spring is a great time to work on the trails ahead of the increase in visitation the forest sees in the summertime,” she adds. If your organization is interested in adopting a trail in the Guadalupe Ranger District, contact Kelsey Smith, Recreation Technician at 575.885.4181 or by email at kelsey.smith2@usda.govRemember to #RecreateResponsibly and follow the principles of Leave No Trace. Picture T207 provided by Kelsey Smith with the LNF. Other photos provided by Campfire Industries of the trail work completed last winter

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