Celebrating National Trails Day at the top of Shirley’s Knob was a nice way to relax after 3.5 hours of maintenance work on the Atalaya Trail (photo by D. Alexander)

A dozen volunteers worked on the Atalaya Trail before heading up to “Shirley’s Knob” to celebrate National Trails Day as well as the development of a “Grand Unified Trails System” for Santa Fe.  While working their way up, the crew ran into Alan Karp, long-time voluntary steward for the Atalaya trail, as well as Dale Ball Trails and the Dorothy Stewart Trail, and thanked him for his many years of service to the community.

Charlie O’Leary describes the GUTS vision, with Sandia Mountain in the background (photo by D. Alexander)

At the top of “Shirley’s Knob,” the volunteers were joined by a handful of additional celebrants as SFCT Executive Director Charlie O’Leary and Santa Fe Fat Tire Society “Club Ambassador” Tim Fowler described the GUTS vision and the model projects that we are pursuing to help achieve it.  Also present were other members of the GUTS Steering Committee, including Gretchen Grogan of the Commonweal Conservancy, and Margaret Alexander of the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe; and other key GUTS partners including SFCT Trails Committee Chair Bill Johnson, Santa Fe County Volunteer Coordinator Carol Branch, SFCT Board Member Stephen Velie, John Parker of the Eldorado Community Improvement Association, and Preston Martin of Bicycle Technologies International (BTI).

One participant specifically commented on the importance of energizing the private sector to help achieve the GUTS vision.  Among a wide variety of potential partners in businesses ranging from outdoor recreation and tourism to real estate and development, it is particularly wonderful to have BTI present to help realize this opportunity in Santa Fe  –  no wonder they are recognized by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) as a “Platinum-Level” Bicycle-Friendly Business!

Capturing the beautiful view from Shirley’s Knob (hopefully better than I did) while flagging a possible trail alignment earlier in the month

Shirley’s Knob is a wonderful viewpoint halfway up Atalaya Mountain that is the destination of an informal trail from the Atalaya Trail.  SFCT, having adopted the Atalaya Trail for voluntary maintenance purposes in 2014, and other GUTS partners are working with Santa Fe National Forest to improve and bring this connection into the formal SFNF trail inventory.  The National Trails Day celebration also offered a glimpse of parts of the existing informal trail that we plan to include as well as a proposed new alignment to replace the “fall-line” trail down the ridge.