New 370-acre conservation easement on Glorieta Mesa (see article below).
It has been an eventful two weeks on so many levels nationally, but also here at SFCT.
Organizationally, I want to tell you what we’ve been dealing with lately. Like other nonprofits, we have cut our budget fairly drastically, taking it down from $634,000 per year to $476,000. Our budget is now about as lean as it can get. We were fortunate to get a Payroll Protection Program loan, which covers our salaries and overhead through the end of June. But after that, we will need your support to keep the staff whole.
Ironically, we are as busy as we’ve ever been! Conservation indeed goes on, even in a pandemic, and our five full-time and one part-time staff are all working from our homes. We have more conservation work than we’ve ever had at one time. Just in the last three months, we’ve closed on three conservation easements and had two CE’s transfer over to us, adding another 970 acres of conserved properties to the over 40,000 acres we already protect in northern NM. Two of the three include public access, and all of them protect wildlife and scenic views. You’ll read about our latest conservation easement below.
Our Trails program got some bad news in May. The trails have been a huge source of solace for our community, and SFCT and its volunteers have been working in small, socially-distanced groups to keep Santa Fe’s 55 miles of trails safe and enjoyable for the huge increase in trail users. Of course, right as the monsoons are approaching, the City, which is grappling with a $100 million budget deficit in the coming fiscal year starting in July, had to cancel our trails maintenance contract. This put one of our employee’s livelihood on the line, and also meant that this incredible resource for our community was going to be left to fend for itself.
There are angels among us, however, who realize the importance of the trails to our community. One angel has stepped forward to cover all but $15,000 needed to keep our Trails Program budget whole. The City is working to put a volunteer agreement in place for us to continue to provide trail maintenance for the coming year, and it is now our turn to ask you to help us raise the additional $15,000 we need to continue to offer trails maintenance services to the City on 55 miles of dirt trails. But it’s not just trail maintenance we provide with our dozens of volunteers. SFCT has a legacy of building new trails, and our Trails Program Manager is at work on new trails in the Galisteo Basin and other parts of town. Plus, we continue to work on connecting existing trails in a loop around Santa Fe and into the center of town through the GUSTO Initiative, so that we can provide greater access during this time when being outdoors is more significant than ever for all, even those who may not have been regular trail users in the past.
Since 2014, SFCT has also been focusing on providing equitable access to nature through many community programs. Our Passport to Trails program has introduced over 3,000 south-side kids and families to our local trails. And over the past two years, Vámonos: Santa Fe Walks has taken almost 900 walkers on urban, ADA-accessible trails around our local parks. Our virtual Vámonos program will enable those who are not as familiar with trails to print a map and get outside, relieve stress, and feel the healing effects of nature, whether in the city or foothills. Everybody needs access to nature as this pandemic has shown, and SFCT has been at the forefront of making sure equity and inclusion are a part of what we do.
Will you help us fill the $15,000 gap in our Trails Program budget with a donation today? If access to nature has been a salvation to you recently, please help SFCT with a gift right now.
“Find a View” 2019 Vamonos Hike on Atalaya.
SFCT CLOSES ON ITS FIFTH
CONSERVATION PROJECT IN 2020
Earlier this year it was:
- One one-acre and one 14-acre transfer from the Forest Trust
- A 548-acre addition to an existing 250-acre easement with Commonweal Conservancy
- A 20-acre conservation easement with the Taos Land Trust in the heart of Taos
- Today we are proud to announce a new conservation easement protecting 370 acres on the top of Glorieta Mesa.
This rolling 372-acre parcel in the Galisteo Basin watershed brings SFCT one step closer to the landscape-scale conservation that we envision for the Galisteo area. A former homestead from the early 1900’s, the property, owned by the Forest Trust, is now an unoccupied piñon-juniper woodland, smack dab in the middle of major wildlife migration pathways. The property is currently grazed, supporting local agricultural producers. We’re pleased to help our fellow conservation organization guarantee that agricultural properties within Santa Fe County will be here for both agricultural production and wildlife habitat—forever.
“Historic” cola can on the top of Glorieta Mesa.
LET’S GO CAMPING!
Get ready for a six-night camping trip with four days of hikes and explorations at Cedar Mesa, part of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah!
Sunday, October 4 to Friday, October 9, 2020
Price: $960 Deposit: $200
Led by our experienced guide, Linda Siegle, you’ll be amazed at the prolific rock art that scales the canyon walls. We’ll hike through the Southwest’s most colorful canyons to find hidden ruins. During the evenings, see the Milky Way blazing a trail across a night sky that the ancestors of this ancient place revered.
- It’s a wonderful opportunity to take pictures, explore a magnificent setting and learn the stories told by the land.
- Delicious meals are provided by the leaders and prepared by all.
- Depending on the pandemic, drive yourself or if we can, van transportation from Santa Fe will be included and also provided from the campground to all the trail heads.
Limited to ten people. Nine people signed up so far! Get all the details here:
SFCT improves everyone’s quality of life, one acre at a time. Please remember SFCT in your will. For more information:
FROM THE BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL
Ace Kvale turned 60 last fall, and to celebrate, he planned a 60-day, 400 mile, off-trail backpacking trip around Utah’s Canyon Country, leaving from his front door. He had a dozen friends join him for different sections of the trip, and one friend who joined him for the whole thing: his blue heeler, 10-year-old Genghis Khan. Filmmakers Forest Woodward and Brendan Leonard captured the trip, and Genghis and Ace’s special relationship, in the short film “Ace and the Desert Dog.” (2016, 9 mins)
ACE AND THE DESERT DOG
Thanks to our Banff sponsors!