Open for adventure: New Mexico trust lands

New Mexico has become a pioneer in developing state trust lands for outdoor lovers. ‘Open for Adventure‘ elevates and advances the state’s vision of uniting our incredible lands with education experiences for the next generation.”  –Axie Navas, Director of Outdoor Recreation for the Economic Development Department, New Mexico

The New Mexico State Land office’s new Open for adventure campaign invites more people to share in the experience of recreating on the more than nine million of acres of land in state trust.  The campaign includes an initiative to provide free access for fifth graders and their families to explore their land.  Normally a recreational access permit costs $35.  Commissioner Stephanie Garcia spreads the news in this very brief video:

State trust lands were granted when new states joined the Union to generate funding to support the public education system.  New Mexico’s land produces an extraordinary amount of revenue, mostly from oil and gas leases.  The Open for adventure campaign marks a diversifying of land valuation, recognizing outdoor recreation as an emerging economic force and also seeing the land as an educational resource itself and a basis for experiential learning.

The full press release from the NM Land Commissioner is copied below, and here are some additional resources:

New Mexico held its second annual Outdoor Economics Conference this October in Silver City:
https://outdooreconomicsnm.com/outdoor-news/

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s report on aligning state land trust activities with the economic futures of western communities, and enhancing the decision-making environment for trust management, provides additional background:
https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/state-trust-lands-in-the-west-updated-full.pdf

Maps of New Mexico State Trust Lands:
https://www.nmstatelands.org/maps-gis/interactive-maps/

We did a post on this website this past Spring on the joys of “Bike-IN Landscapes”:
https://bikeinitiative.org/2019/03/11/bike-in-landscapes-bikepacking-nm-and-the-wild-us/

And another post on New Mexico’s leadership in facilitating safe experiences outdoors:
https://bikeinitiative.org/2019/02/08/new-mexico-a-leader-in-great-outdoors/

FULL PRESS RELEASE is below:

————–

Stephanie Garcia Richard, Land Commissioner
State of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2019

Contact:
Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
505.470.2965
aposs@slo.state.nm.us<mailto:aposs@slo.state.nm.us>

State Land Office Launches “Open for Adventure” Outdoor Recreation Campaign

Includes Partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Hiring of Outdoor Recreation Specialist, and Launch of Online Application Portal

SANTA FE, NM – Commissioner Stephanie Garcia today announced the launch of the Land Office’s outdoor recreation campaign, “Open for Adventure.” The announcement was made in partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and Pojoaque Valley Intermediate School. Thanks to a partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the Land Office is now offering free recreational access permits to New Mexico 5th graders and their families.

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The “Open for Adventure” campaign launch also includes the creation of a new outdoor recreation specialist position to coordinate efforts at the Land Office. It is the first time that a position has existed at the Land Office that will be solely dedicated to expanding, developing, promoting, and stewarding outdoor recreation on about nine million acres of state trust land.

“New Mexico is at a unique position to significantly increase opportunities for outdoor recreation across the state. We now have the first Director of the Division of Outdoor Recreation at the Economic Development Department, we have outfitters and companies ready to invest and do the work, and we have the Equity Fund, which is a game changer for improving the quality of life for kids,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “Through our partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, we hope to give kids and their families access to explore and seek new adventures in New Mexico that they may not have done before.”

For the first time in history, recreational access permits for state trust land access can be processed completely online at https://OpenForAdventure.nmstatelands.org. Applicants previously had to fill out paperwork and make a payment at the State Land Office or mail an application and check to the office.

“Under Commissioner Garcia Richard’s leadership, New Mexico has become a pioneer in developing state trust lands for outdoor lovers. ‘Open for Adventure’ elevates and advances the state’s vision of uniting our incredible lands with education experiences for the next generation,” Axie Navas, the first Director of Outdoor Recreation for the Economic Development Department, said of the Land Office’s campaign.

“The New Mexico Wildlife Federation believes that encouraging more of our children to spend time outdoors supports our goals. The mission of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation is to inspire New Mexicans to conserve landscapes, watersheds and wildlife for our children’s future,” Jesse Deubel, Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, added. “Our state trust lands are managed to support our youth by generating revenue for public schools. The ‘Open for Adventure’ program extends our students’ learning experience out onto our magnificent state lands.”

Recreation permits will be free for 5th graders and their families but are typically $35 annually from the Land Office. The permit will allow recreational access for hiking, climbing, and other activities on state trust land.

Pojoaque Valley students in Abel Acosta’s 5th grade classroom were provided the first permit applications. They also received information about some of the current outdoor recreation opportunities on state trust land<http://www.nmstatelands.org/resources/recreational-access/recreational-areas/>, including the Mystery Stone, the Luera Mountains, the Melrose Trap birdwatching area, and many more.

The outdoor recreation specialist position will be tasked with finding new opportunities for recreation on state trust land, including opportunities for photography, climbing and bouldering, hiking, cycling. The State Land Office has made an offer to fill the position.

The goal of the broader campaign is to focus on these new opportunities, partner with outfitters or businesses where possible, as well as to increase the revenue brought into the Land Office from these activities.

“We know that outdoor recreation is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the Land Office recently announced that we raised a billion dollars for the first time,” Garcia Richard added. “With a talented person in this new position, and a truly focused effort on marketing and lifting up the vast beauty that New Mexico and our outdoor spaces offer, I’m hopeful that we won’t have to rely on just one billion dollar industry to support our public schools, universities, and hospitals.”

Oil, gas, and mineral production, ranching and farming, outdoor recreation, and commercial development on State Trust Lands support public schools, seven universities, New Mexico Military Institute, New Mexico School for the Deaf, New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired,  three hospitals, correctional facilities, water conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.  In fiscal year 2019, the State Land Office collected $1 billion from lease payments, oil and gas lease sale earnings, rights-of-way, permits, interest, fees, and oil, gas and mineral royalties.

Slow Roll 505

I am large.  I contain multitudes.  –Walt Whitman, from “Song of Myself” in Leaves of Grass

There’s a new bicycling event in Albuquerque called “Slow Roll 505”.  I participated in the June 10th ride around the Barelas neighborhood and had such a good time!  It is relaxing and open to all.  The next ride is July 22 in Wells Park/Sawmill/Old Town. Fun! https://www.slowroll505.com

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The event is designed to get the community out cycling on our neighborhood streets.  Albuquerque Police escorted us and controlled traffic through intersections to let the ride pass by.  The response was pretty phenomenal.  Traffic slowed down and people were curious and receptive.  Lots of waves and smiles were shared as we cycled.

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We went over Bridge Street, which is usually filled cars.  I would never have imagined an experience like this were possible but it really is special when you invite people out to see their city from the perspective of a bicycle.  Living with a light footprint enlarges the sense of spaces around us and all the friendly people on bicycles sure did light up our city.  I was asked to help be a traffic guard and they gave me this bright green vest to wear.  I was shy at first controlling intersections but found the rest of the traveling public had a great attitude.  A driver leaned out of his window and said, hey, what is this ride?  I said Slow Roll 505.  He said if he would have known he would have joined us on his bicycle.  Maybe I’ll see him again on his bicycle on the next Slow Roll 505 July 22.  Sweet.

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Check out the schedule and awesome image gallery on the promoter’s website.  They are starting out small this year.  Next year they plan to have rides every week. https://www.slowroll505.com

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The organizers. Photo from their website https://www.slowroll505.com

Cycling as medicine

I was riding with Zach up Gutierrez Canyon and he said, “If cycling was a pill, everybody would be taking it.”  That’s a neat saying, but after pondering it for a while, I thought cycling is way more fun than taking a pill or vitamin. The benefits of cycling are proven medically effective, and the evidence keeps mounting.

The Specialized Foundation uses cycling as a tool for children to achieve academic, health and social success through their Riding for Focus program.  The Foundation partners with Stanford University to better understand the effects of cycling on the learning process in children.  It’s pretty incredible to see the positive results of cycling becoming more visible.

Play is a huge part of learning!  Cycling play promotes mental health and overall wellbeing.  As a team sport, it builds social connections and a sense of belonging.  When we do high intensity intervals on the bike, the mind focuses on exercise and nothing else.  The goal-oriented part of the brain gets more oxygen causing a focus-shift away from the other parts that might be stressed.  This exercise-focused goal-orientation leads to mental relaxation.  The following study by Global Cycling Network goes into the details more.  Basically the same kind of exercise doctors prescribe for heart patients is also good for our heads, and more.

The bottom line is the value produced by cycling is so positively impactful, we’ll have to create a new economic model to measure it.  The rewards to the individual and society are only just beginning to be understood.  The bicycle is releasing so much human potential!  Kudos to everyone making an effort to harness it more, including the people riding bicycles.

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” –H.G. Wells

Further reading:
Kids are getting on bikes sooner and having more fun: https://bikeinitiative.org/2017/08/25/cycling-for-kids-strider-bikes-and-specialized-foundation/
Cycling as a national investment: https://bikeyogiblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/the-bicycle-is-americas-vehicle/
The Specialized Foundation: https://www.specializedfoundation.org

Cycling connects us with nature, too, which is good medicine

Bike-In Coffee hosts Semper Porro cycling team

Our motto at Old Town Farm is pedalers welcome.  We would like for that to be the motto of every city in America.  –Lanny and Linda, owners of Bike-In Coffee at Old Town Farm

On Saturday, April 27, two great things come together.  One of the top bicycle racing teams in America in 2019, Semper Porro, will be at Albuquerque’s Bike-In Coffee at Old Town Farm to connect with the broader community from 10am-12noon.  Join in the celebration of cycling fun!  Semper Porro will discuss how their mission of athlete development translates into helping people reach their fullest capabilities in life through healthy living, process excellence and community building.

Semper Porro Elite Road Bicycle Racing Team

When: Saturday, April 27, 2019 10am-12noon
Where: Bike-In Coffee at Old Town Farm ( http://oldtownfarm.com/bike-in-coffee/ )
What: Community gathering with cycling demonstrations, w/ optional ride at 12noon

More About Bike-In Coffee at Old Town Farm:  Bike In Coffee caters to cyclists, serving food and coffee from 9am-2pm every Saturday and Sunday on their glorious farm in the heart of Albuquerque with easy access off the Bosque Multi-Use Path.  The property has been farmed for at least 500 years, and the current owners have adapted it from a horse farm 35 years ago to the changing urban context, so people can connect with nature and one another through relaxation and sharing food and cycling culture, and enjoying everything that’s beautiful about Albuquerque, NM.

More About Semper Porro:  An elite road bicycle racing team with roots in the Southwest U.S., Semper Porro is Latin for “always forward”.  The Semper Porro team is in Albuquerque training for the Tour of the Gila bicycle race in Silver City, NM May 1-5. They’ve had an amazing season thus far, including winning the Redlands Classic while competing with many of America’s top cycling athletes. Semper Porro’s mission connects cycle sport to the highest ideals and values in life and uses processes that are universally applicable to building successful careers, relationships, reaching life goals and helping individuals and communities flourish.

References and further reading / viewing:

Hear Old Town Farm’s vision for New Mexico and Albuquerque as America’s leader in cycling:

Watch Semper Porro at Redlands:

The Tour of the Gila draws professional and amateur teams from across America to New Mexico for the some of the finest bicycling roads in the world with clear air, high altitude, and spectacular landscapes, great food and culture and an awe-inspiring atmosphere.  Cycling in New Mexico has deep roots and is an integral part of our communities.
https://tourofthegila.com

Semper Porro media:
https://www.facebook.com/semperporrotraining
https://www.instagram.com/semper.porro/
https://semperporro.com

Team CSP-SBI cycling ambassador clothing available online

Team CSP-SBI clothing is available online through March 6, 2019.  Items are priced at a 30% discount thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and partners.  We promote conservation, health and wellness, and quality of life in our communities by celebrating life through cycling and encouraging more people to enjoy the ride. People on other teams and from all across the community are welcome to join our inclusive network of ambassadors. Cycling creates an amazing life and builds healthy, connected, sustainable communities!

Online store [was open] through March 6: https://custom.zootsports.com/CSP2019
Latest shipping update (posted April 23): Clothing arrives at your shipping address April 29 or 30
Sizing chart: https://squadra.com/pages/sizing-charts
Fitting samples are available at the Trek Bicycle Superstore if you would like to try them for sizing.
Supporting SBI: Clothing sales cover costs only.  To financially support SBI’s work donate here

More on Team CSP-SBI apparel:  Mens and womens jerseys, shorts, vests and arm warmers are made by Squadra (“Team” in Italian) with the highest quality materials.  The form fit allows freedom of movement and won’t catch or snag on anything.  Air flows smoothly over the fabrics, increasing your overall efficiency.  Team CSP-SBI apparel is well-suited to make your commute safer and more comfortable, and equally at home on a weekend fun ride.  The fabric is soft to the touch, breathable, protective and durable.  The shorts have padding and make every seat first class.  Lycra supports your muscles and extends endurance.  If you’re new to technical cycling apparel, consider ordering a vest, a versatile item that can go over any type of clothing.  Jerseys and vests have rear pockets to conveniently carry food and goods.  Every aspect of Team CSP-SBI apparel by Squadra is designed to make you cycling experience smoother and more fun.

More on Team CSP-SBI:  In our fourth year, Team CSP-SBI cycling ambassadors brings the community together and creates a friendly cycling atmosphere.  We are a distributed network with representatives across the U.S. and around the world.  Ambassadors practice all kinds of cycling, from commuting to road to mountain biking, and are passionate about exploring the outdoors together.  Cycling is practical and affordable transportation that takes us where we want to go.  We cycle for enjoyment, to pursue our goals and dreams, and to bring about the changes we want to see in the world. Team CSP-SBI connects people to the cycling action and facilitates learning in a fun, inclusive and welcoming family-oriented environment.  Our logo are the American pronghorn, native to North America and the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere.

About CSP and SBI: Team CSP-SBI is co-organized by two nonprofits, Conservation Science Partners and Southwest Bike Initiative.  CSP applies human ingenuity to the preservation of species, populations, and ecosystems using scientific principles, innovative approaches, and lasting partnerships with conservation practitioners. https://www.csp-inc.org
SBI provides sustainable transportation planning, design, and educational services to provide a safe and efficient transportation system for the traveling public.  We foster travel choices that provide opportunities for physical activity, contact with nature, and positive social engagements, while promoting economic development, environmental sustainability, health and wellness, and elevating the quality of life in our communities. https://bikeinitiative.org

Information on clothing costs and donations: The prices in the store cover the cost of clothing only. If you would like to donate to SBI, please do so here. Our work is made possible through contributions of generous people like you.  https://bikeinitiative.org/make-a-donation/
For assistance or with any questions, please contact Mark Aasmundstad, the director and founder of Southwest Bike Initiative.  bikeyogi (@) gmail.com or 505-985-1169 (phone)
Thank you!

Wheels of life

Skill, in the best sense, is the enactment or the acknowledgement or signature of responsibility to other lives; it is the practical understanding of value.  –Wendell Berry, “The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture”

Cycling up the Sandia Crest in Fall 2018 above Albuquerque

Eating and moving our bodies are everyday acts that connect us to the source of life.   In Wendell Berry’s book “Culture and Agriculture” the author discusses the relationships between technology, responsibility and skill.  I am impressed with the parallel’s between Berry’s observations on agriculture and the dynamics of human movement, or transportation.

In the sixth chapter, the use of energy, Berry notices that introducing machines in agriculture complicates our relationship with the life-giving soil.  In particular machines bring more power and consequence, but do not impose restraints or moral limits on the exercise of their power.  So humans have to bring responsibility commensurate with these mechanical powers that increase our impact and consequences on the soil. To complicate things, machines speed up our work, “but as speed increases, care declines…We know that there is a limit to the capacity of attention and that the faster we go the less we see” (Berry p. 93).  So being responsible for our machine-aided work becomes even harder, and necessitates greater foresight and moral restraint on the part of human beings.

Cranes flying in at Bosque del Apache, November 2018

Skill is the connection between life and tools, or life and machines.  —Berry, p. 91

Driving skills are based on our knowledge of the machines we are operating, the driving environment and conditions, and the potential consequences on our own life and the life surrounding us.  When I went to commercial driving school at age 21 to learn how to drive 18-wheelers, I had an instructor named Jim.  He made a moral argument.  Jim had driven trucks over a million miles, and he’d seen a lot.  Jim said that as truck drivers, we are the most powerful on the road and therefore must be the most responsible.  He had a certain authority based on care and experience that stuck with me.  Five days a week for three months, Jim and a team of instructors trained me and my classmates on the skills we needed to be the most responsible users of public roads.  We learned how to manage our speed and adjust it so it was appropriate for conditions.  We inspected our vehicles before every trip to ensure proper maintenance, and practiced turning, backing up, and negotiating in traffic to protect all human life around us.  The skills we developed had nothing to do with always going slow, rather knowing when to go slow for safety, and how to modulate our speed, which effectively makes the whole transportation system work so much better, and enacts our fundamental values  of safety first.  Driver training for me was not only about mastering and controlling my vehicle, but also about mastering myself.

In the traffic safety field, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that suggests we need to increase driving skills to have a safer transportation world.  The National Transportation Safety Board noted in a recent report that although “Speeding—exceeding a speed limit or driving too fast for conditions—is one of the most common factors in motor vehicle crashes in the United States”, there is no national program to communicate the dangers of speeding like there is for other crash factors such as drinking and driving (NTSB SS1701).  All drivers need training to understand and follow the basic speed law, which “requires drivers to operate at a speed that is reasonable and prudent, taking into account weather, road conditions, traffic, visibility, and other environmental conditions” (NTSB SS1701).  We can do a better job of providing specific education and guidance on how to anticipate and take into account the dynamic conditions of the road, the most important being the presence of people.

A group ride in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico

A complimentary action we can take is encouraging citizens to engage in activities such as bicycling and walking.  Bicycling in particular is a kind of technology that deepens and enhances our engagement with our local communities and the greater world.  It is what Scott Slovic calls a “technology of contact”, one that enables us to “connect with the world and think more deeply about our relationship to the world” (p. 358 Literature).  I think in part cycling works so well to engage our senses because we are supplying our own biological energy.  Going so far on our own energy is one of the magical things about cycling, and makes it such a rewarding technology to use, not to mention, cycling is almost completely renewable.  Cycling reminds me of organic farming.  It allows biological energy to flow at a sustainable scale and it gives us exactly what we need to be well and productive.  It’s about quality more than quantity.  Cycling does justice to what it means to be human pursuing happiness.

In this age of technology, it is not a question of always abstaining, but a question of wise and respectful use.  It is a matter of education, public training, and living within our biological limits.  To me, this is a beautiful challenge, or what Rachel Carlson called “a shining opportunity”.  Carlson wrote: “Your generation must come to terms with the environment.  Your generation must face realities instead of taking refuge in ignorance and evasion of truth.  Yours is a grave and a sobering responsibility, but it is also a shining opportunity.  You go out into a world where mankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and its mastery–not of nature, but of itself.  Therin lies our hope and our destiny.  ‘In today already walks tomorrow'”.

A Fall walk in the Manzano Mountains

Resources:

Wendell Berry wrote “The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture” in 1977 and still enacts his values on his small Kentucky farm

Scott Slovic’s Literature chapter appears in the “Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology

NTSB SS1701 is a landmark safety study.  Produced by the National Transportation Safety Board, the working title is “Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles

The Rachel Carlson quote is from her 1962 address to Scripps Institute.  She was influenced by Albert Schweitzer’s “reverence for life” philosophy.  The address is called “On Man and the Stream of Time” and appears in the book “Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture”. 

Grinduro 2018

This ride report by Team CSP-SBI cycling ambassador Kurt Sable

So what is Grinduro? A bike race? A century? Mountain bike? Gravel grinder? Road Bike? It is all of these things plus bacon and whiskey at the rest stops and Big Foot sightings along the way, and a load of fun on two wheels. Lots of focus on your ‘ride to party ratio’.

I just participated in one of the two Grinduros in the world in my rural hometown of Quincy, California on the last Saturday of September, (the other one is in Scotland in July). It was quite amusing to hear exclamations from other cyclists as horses and deer ran along the road while we were rolling out. Many of the 1,000 or so riders come from more populated areas and I felt proud that folks were amazed at the natural environs. Not to mention, I work as a hydrologist for the Plumas National Forest and we were riding in my “office” for most of the ride.

I wore my awesome CSP/Southwest Bike Initiative kit to represent during the event and got to chat with people while grinding up a 15-mile, 3,500 ft. climb at the start.

How could I chat? This is part of the brilliance of Grinduro. Like mountain bike enduros, only segments of the ride are timed; between timed sections I could just ride and take in the pure mountain air and views at whatever pace I wanted. In mountain bike enduros the timed segments are usually the downhills. What is unique about Grinduro is that the timed segments are incredibly varied: a 1.1-mile uphill gravel road climb, a 6-mile fast descent on a gravel and dirt road, a 6-mile rolling paved time trial, and, last but not least, a 3.5-mile single track decent. All of these timed segments are peppered along a 62-mile route of mixed surfaces (dirt trails, gravel roads, paved roads) with 7,700 of total climbing. The big climbs are on dirt and gravel and quite steep in places.

Instant and common topics of conversation include: What bike? Should you use a mountain bike, a road bike, or is this event a good excuse to get a new gravel bike? What tires? How much tire pressure? And after the ride, how much dirt is on and in one’s body, and how many flats did you get? And, did you get a flat during a timed section? We definitely could have used some rain before the event – there was a lot of loose dirt and dust.

There has been a ton of great media put out there about the event. These folks provide a flashy and witty take:

https://grinduro.com/

https://www.velonews.com/2018/09/gallery/up-next-grinduro_479403

Stepping back from Grinduro, I wanted to mention the role events like these have on small rural towns.

The event is organized by Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS), a non-profit organization based in the Northern Sierra. They have been brilliant at partnering with the Forest Service, local counties, local schools, and the State Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Commission to authorize projects and get money to build and maintain sustainable trails. They are mostly a mountain bike group, but they embrace all trail users. They organize events, run trail shuttles, have a bike shop in another rural town, Downieville, CA, and organize many trail events that attract volunteers from the pool of local and out of town trail users.

They employee a trail crew, bike shop and other staff in our rural communities, and reportedly pay a good living wage.

https://sierratrails.org/

Quincy is primarily a timber town and still has an active lumber mill.  Like much of the rural west, the population has been declining and unemployment is relatively high. There are a lot of reasons for this, but since the trails and events have come to town, there has been increased activity in downtown. Newly opened businesses include a book store, an outdoor store/bike shop, a brewery, and a new café. You often see bikes on vehicles from out-of-town parked outside these businesses or in front of our awesome food co-op, Quincy Natural Foods.

The trails and biking are certainly providing a small but real boost to our local economy and it helps locals see another use of the surrounding forest that is not extractive.

I have seen local kids out riding on the trails starting to fall in love with biking and they want to be in Grinduro someday.

Some may say “be careful what you wish for” and that we will have an influx of wealthy folks driving up our real estate costs… but I say we are far from that for now. So come on up to Quincy and lets go for a ride, or be poised by your computer when the registration opens for Grinduro and come have some bacon during a very memorable fall ride in the Lost Sierra.