GALISTEO DAM, N.M. – Attendees at the All Trails Lead to Santa Fe Conference had the opportunity to visit one of the lesser-known projects in the District, Galisteo Dam, Sept. 18-20, 2015.
The conference was the first ever joint conference of three important trail associations and took place in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The conference gathered together those interested in three significant North American trails: El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Old Spanish Trail.
These three National Historic Trails and the District are geographically connected. The Santa Fe Trail runs across the District’s John Martin Reservoir Project in southeastern Colorado. It’s historically plausible that pack mule trains traveling the Old Spanish Trail followed the Rio Chama across land that is now operated by the District’s Abiquiu Lake Project in northern New Mexico. El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro traversed the lands on both sides of the Rio Grande north from El Paso, with one spur passing to Cochiti Pueblo near the Cochiti Lake Project, and another crossing the Galisteo Dam Project which is located northeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
During the conference there were several breakout sessions where attendees toured segments of the three trails. Since all three trails intersect in Santa Fe, participants didn’t have to travel far.
Laurel Martin, a Santa Fe-based Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (CARTA) Board Member and private research historian, was instrumental in coordinating the District’s participation during the conference. She and Jere Krakow, also a CARTA Board Member and retired NPS historian, helped organize and conduct four tours of the Galisteo Project for the conference in coordination with District archaeologist Gregory Everhart and Cochiti Project park rangers.
Over the course of the conference, approximately 120 people listened to Everhart’s presentation about the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, Galisteo Dam, and the Corps’ cultural resources management responsibilities. Everhart’s discussion presented an overview on local historical, geographical and cultural resources information.
“We briefly discussed the Corps dams; the Spanish expeditions; the ‘arid and remote’ landscape; the diversity of Native American tribes and pueblos; Spanish Royal Ordinances regarding establishment of towns; commerce along the trails and goods traveling in both directions; the alignments of the Galisteo/Los Alamitos Trail segments and the related Los Alamitos bridge and encampment downstream of the dam and the alignments of the Galisteo North Trail segments and the Signal Site (a three-room Spanish Colonial site), both located immediately upstream of the dam” Everhart said. “The Signal Site was located on the north side of Galisteo Creek but was entirely excavated during salvage operations prior to building the dam”.
The Three Trails Conference provided the District with a forum to showcase the Corps and Galisteo Dam’s many attributes. After the conference, Martin told Mark Rosacker, District Project Manager for the Cochiti Lake, Jemez Canyon Dam and Galisteo Dam projects, “The real star of the show was the Galisteo Arroyo itself. I think that the site has potential for cultural tourism which could benefit the Corps, the Pueblos, and park visitors.”
“While Galisteo might not provide a lake, water-based recreation and the same interest as many other Corps Projects, Galisteo is a unique and very special place in its own right for its historic location, topography, human history, and potential for birding and other forms of natural history interpretation,” Rosacker said.
“The area has many stories to tell: of the land itself; the plants and animals; the prehistoric, historic, and modern Pueblo people; the European and Spanish explorers and colonists; Mexican and American pioneers. The nearby presence of Interstate Highway 25 and the New Mexico Rail Runner coupled with the solitude and natural beauty of the surrounding countryside combine to present the Galisteo Project as a “Diamond in the Rough” for anyone willing to look just below the surface.”
For more info on the three trails, go to: http://www.3trailsconferencesantafe.org/a-brief-history-of-the-three-trails-1/