Friday, June 6, 2014

Los Alamos/Bandelier Loop Trail Surfaces Again

Lucy Gent Foma, the National Park Service person responsible for conceptual development of a largely paved Bandelier Loop Trail/Los Alamos Loop Trail, gave a briefing to the Transportation Board last night. The details were virtually identical to those she presented last October at a brainstorming session at the County offices.  It looks like that trail is still being considered and the gist of last night’s briefing is that the Bandelier folks need to do an environmental assessment (sensu lato, not sure of the legaleze here) and may then come back to the county and other legal entities for some sort of MOU if things are to proceed.

I think it is a great idea to expand Los Alamos County’s existing trail network with some sort of grand loop trail such as this as a way to better integrate national park and county resources and to build a new clientele of users. That said, I continued to caution both the TBoard and Ms. Gent-Foma that the idea that this trail would serve the typical cyclist who is presently out riding the Bandy loop is largely indefensible and based on last October's meeting, likely to ruffle a lot of feathers.  Furthermore, I take serious umbrage that it is somehow dangerous to ride that loop except, perhaps if one is ascending Main Hill during Rush Hour and to a lesser degree, NM4 between White Rock and East Jemez Road.

A separate path used by typical, highly fit and fast travelling Bandelier Loop cyclists is especially problematic in specific areas. For example, as cyclists descend from Back Gate towards Bandelier National Park, we are are often hitting pretty high speeds (30-40 mph) incompatible with a multiuse path, especially one that would probably have a fair amount of gradient, curves, limits on sight distances in specific areas, and other modes to share the space.

What I did say was that based on my recollection of the October meeting, the consensus of cyclists is that some sort of better treatment for NM4 between White Rock and East Jemez Road would be great and that there would be considerable enthusiasm for this project if it is NOT sold as all things to all people, or as a way to get those pesky cyclists off the road. I strongly suspect that quite a few people who would not cycle the Bandelier Loop might be excited about riding a well designed, scenic paved trail from DP Site to Tsankawi, Tsankawi to White Rock, from White Rock to Bandelier, Back Gate to Bandelier, etc., etc.  This could be a grand version of the Canyon Rim Trail!  This could be a really cool thing and could provide Los Alamos/Bandelier National Park added recreational resources for tourist and local alike.

I’ll not belabor it more here, but direct you to my blog post from last October.  Main thing is to keep this on our radar. I obviously don’t speak for everyone here, so make sure you speak for yourself.

Note. Today is the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings and invasion of Europe.   A tip of the hat and a long silent remembrance to two old friends, since departed, who were on the beaches or parachuted inland: architectural engineer and former father in law John Zeh Jr. and Rochester Police Dept. Officer Fred "Woody" Woodard.  Thanks for all you did, and a silent prayer for the many who didn't make it inland. War is Hell, and is the last place we should ever want to send our sons and daughters. Unfortunately, we have not always had a choice.
Photo from the Bookworm Room

No comments: