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Little Tesuque

Location

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Little Tesuque Creek is a unique trail in the Santa Fe area. It is a valuable resource for both wildlife and public land users and with the development and rising popularity of the social trail along the creek the impact on the area has become quite large. With a rare creekside experience it has become a very popular trail, bringing users into a lush green valley with the opportunity to hike alongside flowing water. This trail also serves as a connector trail to other larger trail networks and as such sees a wide variety of users.

The trail sits on a conservation easement whose primary purpose is to protect trees and wildlife habitat. During significant storms and flooding events, the trail becomes part of the creek causing erosion, widening, loss of trail tread, and gullying. This has highlighted the need to evaluate the existing trail alignment and identify potential reroutes to address trail sustainability issues, improve the water quality of Little Tesuque Creek, protect sensitive habitats, while also providing a high quality visitor experience. Santa Fe County Open Space contracted Singletrack Trails and Pointe Strategies to assist in the redesign of the trail to create a plan for a durable trail that removes some of the human pressures on the delicate riparian habitat.

A survey of the area was completed in March 2022 with Peggy Darr, the Santa Fe County project Manager, to identify problem areas, sensitive habitat and opportunities for improving the biodiversity of the area. A few large and many small areas of concern were noted and used to create a map identifying control points and trail reroute priorities. An in-depth site visit was completed of the zones surrounding the areas-of-concern to understand reroute options and evaluate trail desirability, build feasibility, and how well they achieve the project goals. Two reroute alternatives were identified, each with positive and negative traits that were presented in a summary matrix.

The Santa Fe County team reviewed the trail alignment alternatives, with their input the final report was created showing the final preferred alignment as well as additional concerns and opportunities. The final design report included the final trail alignment, maps, and construction budget estimates. Finally Pointe Strategies will flag the trail ahead of construction ensuring that an enjoyable, durable, and environmentally sustainable trail is the final result.

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