COCHITI LAKE, N.M. – Fifty-seven students and 11 advisors from the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at West Mesa High School, Albuquerque, NM, spent part of their Labor Day weekend improving hiking trails at the lake.
Collectively, the volunteers worked 426 hours, Saturday Sept. 5, 2015, on the trail project building approximately 2,600 feet of hiking trail. The trail is designed to connect the Cochiti Visitors Center with the Cochiti swim beach.
Natural Resource Specialist Nicholas Parks was instrumental in the development of a plan to use existing two-track roads and convert them to useable trail, without the unnecessary degradation or violation of the surrounding natural resources.
The trail was lined with river rocks found in the immediate vicinity of the trail site. The JROTC volunteers used multiple hand tools, such as Pulaskis, rakes, shovels, rock-bars, pick axes, and hoes, to clear the trail of vegetation and tripping hazards.
Park’s plan also incorporated the clean-up and remediation of a site that started out years ago as a place where the project would store extra construction material. It eventually became a “catch all” for any and all material that was no longer needed or no longer useable. The Corps’ environmental compliance assessment program, known as the Environmental Review Guide for Operations (ERGO), designated it an “open dump” site. This site is no longer used, and therefore needed to be rehabilitated and returned to a natural state, in order to become compliant with the Corps’ high environmental standards.