The New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division (ORD) awarded the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge $256,962 this past December for a project called “Bosque Bridges.”
The project aims to connect Valle De Oro’s perimeter trail and the Paseo del Bosque bike path together, giving people a new way to experience the bosque.
The money for Valle De Oro’s project is granted by the ORD of the New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD). Of over 100 applications, Bosque Bridges was one of 12 different projects falling under the Outdoor Recreation Trails+ Grant initiative by the ORD, according to the Los Alamos Daily Post.
The Valle de Oro refuge is located behind the industrialized zone of the South Valley off of 2nd St. SW, consisting of over 570 acres. Valle de Oro opened in 2012 and strives to be a place where people can come to connect with nature amidst the growing industrialization of the area, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services website.
Jaren Peplinski – Chair for the Refuge Development Committee under Friends of Valle de Oro – said this grant will allow Valle De Oro to enhance one of its primary goals to create valuable recreational space for the community.
“We need places for folks to be able to get out and experience nature while also working to advance our ecological goals on such a big piece of wildlife habitat,” Peplinski wrote.
The project will allow for the connection of the Perimeter Trail and the Paseo del Bosque bike path while creating a pair of ADA-accessible bridges, more access points to the trails and improved access for those coming from the Westside of Albuquerque, he said.
“The overall goal of this grant is to create connectivity for the community,” Peplinski wrote.
Valle De Oro itself is connected to the network of trails within the Rio Grande bosque. On-site, there is a visitor center, swallow nests in the rafters of the building and an array of small ponds with fish.
Bernalillo County District 2 Commissioner, Steven Michael Quezada, made a statement about the Bosque Bridges grant when it was announced in December.
“It’s an important project that will not only make it easier for the community to access these open spaces, but also builds on the longstanding relationship we’ve built with them over the years we’ve been working on this project together,” Quezada said in the statement.
The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy is also a part of the Bosque Bridges project as they grant licenses to cross their ditches. The City of Albuquerque is also funding a grant to match that of the state for the project, according to KOB.
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The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is free of charge for all visitors, including access to information in the visitor center. They provide a full course of education for visitors to learn about the species that reside within the refuge and the bosque as a whole.
“This grant is being provided match funding by the City of Albuquerque, which is a testament to the commitment of the community in furthering true partnership to advance shared outdoor recreation goals,” Peplinski wrote.
BillyJack Davidson is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BillyJackDL
BillyJack Davidson is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached on Twitter @BillyJackDL