As an organization, we always seek to establish new partnerships and create new programs. In the spring of 2011, we had an exciting opportunity to work with a new partner, the New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Association (NMOHVA). This pilot project in the Sandia Ranger District (Cibola National Forest), just east of Albuquerque, hopes to prove that the combination of proper design, signage, and trail improvements can create a sustainable, low impact recreation area. With a total of 96 Youth Corps crew days dedicated to the project, we are well on our way to completing the renovation of a 100-mile trail system.
With the support of the US Forest Service, crews utilize a campground near Tijeras, NM and maintain an operations base next to the project. The crews use this site for all of their tents, bathroom, and kitchen facilities, as well as their educational and recreational activities. It is a well-deserved luxury to come “home” to such a comfortable base camp after long days working in the extreme conditions of the high desert. The work is extensive: to date, crews have completed five miles of new trail construction and five miles of trail maintenance, installed 15 ATV limiters, two informational kiosks, hundreds of miles of wire fence, and 77 intersection signs. These accomplishments highlight the collaboration and dedication of NMOHVA planners, Forest Service staff, and RMYC Supervisors. A project of this scale is not possible without concerted effort from all parties involved to facilitate positive youth development through the completion of a visionary pilot project.