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A score and five years ago, our city fathers brought forth a new division conceived for everybody and dedicated to the proposition that not all land is created equal. At that time our community was engaged in a great struggle to prevent the loss of its character to the wrecking ball or the bulldozer blade. And while there have been setbacks, the victories were greater and the result has been beyond impressive.
Summer is in full swing and visitation to Open Space lands is at an all time high. Not only does the warmer weather increase visitation to Open Space properties, it also brings out the spirit of volunteerism in people as well.
While hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding on one of the numerous trails of the Sandia Foothills Open Space, it’s easy to forget that this beautiful landscape looked quite different in the early days of the Open Space Division.
In 1984, a new Division was formed within the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. Known as the Open Space Division, its employees were charged with the responsibility of protecting and managing environmentally and culturally significant lands in and around the City of Albuquerque.
The Open Space Alliance is proud to be the host for the City of Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center’s 3rd Annual Open Space: A View with Room. This fantastic art show runs through December 11th. All of the art work in the show depicts the many lands being preserved as part of the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space System. The paintings primarily highlight and bring into focus the variety of spaces that are available in the city of Albuquerque.
This spring and summer the Open Space Division hosted three highly successful annual volunteer events that helped to preserve our precious natural resources and public lands. The Spring Cleanups in the Sandia Foothills, National River Cleanup, and National Trails Day each received some of the highest volunteer turnouts we’ve seen for these events since their inception.
I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Bob Burgan on September 13, 2007. Burgan, 89, was the first director of the Parks Department when it was formed in 1954. Our talk took place in his living room as movers packed boxes. The next day he left Albuquerque after living here for 60+ years and moved to Ogden, Utah. – M.S.
As I look back on 2007, it’s been one fantastic year. The Alliance continues to be a dedicated advocate for Albuquerque open space, and there have been many accomplishments throughout the year. These successes are attributable to the strong support that was achieved from Open Space Alliance (OSA) members, trail watch volunteers, and the Albuquerque Open Space Division
The hot days of summer are coming to an end. Cottonwood trees will soon turn golden and flutter in gently blowing breezes. Fall means harvesting summer's gift of green chiles and other New Mexican specialty crops grown with acequia waters. The cool morning air also reminds Albuquerque residents that the colorful hot air ballons will soon fill the skies above the Rio Grande Valley and surrounding Mesas.
I am a paper cup. I was very useful once, but when I was no longer needed, I was discarded. Not put into a bag with other used items I was merely pitched into the Rio Grande River, just north of the Bosque where I began my lonely and rather hazardous journey. Sink or Swim!
I found myself one day in the Bosque (riverside forest) in the dead of winter. The leafless Cottonwoods appeared restful and barren as they store up the energy to transform themselves in the coming spring,
Within Tijeras Canyon exists a crossroads. Not just one for steel and rubber, but one for hoofs and fur. Tijeras Canyon has also been known as one of the worst places in the country for road kill.
Artists have always been inspired by the beauty of nature, and with over 28,000 acres of protected Open Space lands in and around Albuquerque, there ís plenty to be inspired about.
As daylight lengthens, thereís restlessness in the air. After the short days of winter, people look forward to being outside, and to the harbingers of spring. Birds that had disappeared at the end of last yearís nesting season begin to reappear.
We watched as a small group of sandhill cranes slowly circled overhead, spiraling downward with wings extended. One crane called out, as if giving directions to the others. Soon, more cranes joined the chorus, their ìgaroo-a-a-aî calls trumpeting all around us.
At the end of last year the Open Space Police (OSP) were absorbed into the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). As a special unit in APD administered by Captain Mike Castro and Lieutenant Ruben Griego, the Open Space Police continue patrolling and responding to calls affecting Open Space properties and facilities.
There is a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the Pueblo Montano fire that took place two years ago, but in the shape of an eagle. Chainsaw artist Mark Chavez, one of the firefighters who helped put out that fire in the bosque, seemed to be an imminently appropriate choice to carve sculptures into the standing dead cottonwood trees at the trailhead.
For fifty years Albuquerque's Parks and Recreation Department has flourished. As the sleepy little town of 50,000 residents of the 1940's doubled its size by the early 1950's, the need for leadership to direct the growth of our parks was apparent. Under the five member City Commission, several community organizations petitioned for a government entity to direct the future of the boomtown's green space.
This March, Resource Management plans for four Open Space properties located in the East Mountain area were approved by the Bernalillo County Commission. The approved plans were for cityowned properties at Tres Pistolas, Juan Tomas, San Antonito, and Gutierrez Canyon.
On one fall Trail Watch walk, the sound of a tractor was heard in the Bosque on the West Side north of Montano. Following it to its source, goat herder Ray Thornberg was seen riding his tractor as he pulled a trailer filled with fencing materials from one place to another. The goat herd of 450 was nearby, busily grooming the Bosque of invasive plants.