July 11, 2008

Volunteers Needed to Tend Local Trails


Trails: Project to focus on Dale Ball, Santa Fe Foothills and La Tierra trails

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is seeking volunteers to serve as trail stewards who can train and assist other volunteers in maintaining many of the hiking trails in and around the city.

"We've got over 100-plus miles of trails, and unless we can get citizens to adopt and maintain them, we're going to lose control of them," said David Henderson, trail stewardship coordinator for Santa Fe Conservation Trust. "The city and the county are good at planning and building trails but not as well-equipped at maintaining them."

So Henderson, retired executive director of the Randall Davey Audubon Center, is working with the Conservation Trust to establish a volunteer trail-adoption program under a combined $40,000 grant from the city and county.

Volunteers interested in serving

can sign up for a training session on

Thursday evening at the Randall Davey Audubon Center. Training will concentrate on trail grooming, maintenance and related subjects, Henderson said.

This class will be followed by a hands-on session at the Dale Ball Trailhead at Upper Canyon Road and Cerro Gordo on July 19.

Participation will be limited to about 20 people for the first class. Other sessions will take place throughout the year, Henderson said.

Henderson said he hopes to enlist the aid of volunteers who can monitor trails, report problems and work on projects.

"A lot of the trails we're interested in, like the river trail, cut through underserved communities," Henderson said. "This is a tremendous opportunity for those neighborhoods to get involved."

Henderson said with a core group of volunteers and stewards, he can put boots on the ground to knock out projects that otherwise might have languished.

The project will focus primarily on the Dale Ball, Santa Fe Foothills and La Tierra trails and provide monitoring of the Santa Fe Rail Trail and the Arroyo de los Chamisos and Santa Fe River trails.

Henderson, 55, is no stranger to the outdoors and volunteer work, having served for 22 years at the Audubon Center.

The Los Angeles native earned a bachelor's degree in ornithology and wildlife biology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

His first job was with the Audubon Society in California before a job opened up for an executive director at the newly acquired property of renowned Santa Fe artist Randall Davey. Henderson got the job and oversaw development of the center, where visitors can enjoy guided bird walks, tour the historic Randall Davey home and studio, explore hiking and nature trails, learn about the natural history of the area and shop at the Nature Store.

Henderson recently retired from the Audubon Center, but he said he found life as a pensioner wanting. He has since joined the Santa Fe Trust.

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Northern New Mexico cultural and historic land heritage.

The organization also assists landowners in setting aside property for protection from development. Since its inception in 1993, the group has recorded 62 conservation easements covering 30,000 acres.


The Santa Fe Conservation Trust will hold a training session for volunteer trail stewards from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Randall Davey Audubon Center, 1800 Upper Canyon Road. A follow-up session will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon July 19 at the Dale Ball Trailhead.

For more information, contact David Henderson at 989-7019 or, via e-mail, at [email protected] For more information about the trust, visit the Web site at www.sfct.org.

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