Past Volunteering Events
Please take time to learn about these amazing volunteers.
2022 Sandia Ranger District Volunteer Appreciation Event
USDA Forest Service photo by Patricia E. Johnson
October 2022 - The volunteer appreciation event at Oak Flat Picnic Area celebrated and honored the amazing contributions that Forest Service volunteers have made to the Sandia Ranger District. A special appreciation goes to Public Lands Interpretive Association for their work in helping host the event.
Volunteers were recognized for their contributions to work on program trail construction/maintenance, heritage, recreation facility maintenance, visitor information services and wildlife.
The event honored and awarded volunteer individuals and groups of:
- Friends of the Sandia Mountains
- Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association
- 505 Elevate
- Placitas Area Trails Association
- Friends of Tijeras Pueblo
- Sandia Nordic Ski Club
- New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors
- New Mexico Mountain Club
- “Adopt a Trail” Participating Groups
For more pictures on the event, go to the Cibola Flickr site.
Student Volunteers from Des Moines High School, NM work on the Kiowa and Rita Blanca Ranger District
September 2022 - At the Felt Picnic Area in Cimarron County, OK the student volunteers from Des Moines High School removed brush and trash from the picnic area and raised the bottom wire on the boundary fence to allow for easier wildlife passage. Forest Service Wildlife Biologist presented the students with reasons for wildlife projects on the National Grasslands and Rangeland Management Specialists discussed how the Forest Service manages livestock grazing on the National Grasslands.
Enchanted Chapter of Quail Forever Volunteers work to replace habitat fencing
August 2022 - Magdalena Ranger District - Volunteers from the Enchanted Chapter of Quail Forever came from Albuquerque to help the Magdalena Ranger District staff remove a dilapidated fence enclosure surrounding 2 acres of quail habitat and a rain water catchment system called a “quail guzzler” at the base of the Bear Mountains.
The crew installed a new fence to serve as a barrier to keep ungulates (hooved animals such as deer, elk, cows, etc.) from accessing the water and vegetation that benefits quail. The fence was first installed circa 1950, and over time the wooden posts and barbed wire degraded until the fence became non-functional. Restoring this enclosure to a functional state will protect the guzzler and surrounding habitat from grazing and provide forage and nesting habitat for quail. This protected area will also benefit a diverse array of other wildlife and plants. Projects such as this serve to protect wildlife habitats while still allowing for sustainable multiple-use management of Forest Service lands.
Volunteers work on the Water Canyon Cabin on the Magdalena Ranger District
May 2022 - Magdalena Ranger District - Volunteers from the Ancestral Lands Program Conservation Corps, Friends of Sandia Mountains (FOSM), New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors (NMVO), NM SiteWatch, and archaeologists from the Cibola National Forest work hard on repairs to the Water Canyon Cabin.
This cabin was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1939-1940.
Friends of Tijeras Pueblo (FTP) Sponsor Native Garden Planting Day
May 2022 - Sandia Ranger District - Friends of Tijeras Pueblo (FTP) sponsored a native garden planting day with archaeologists from the Sandia Ranger District. In two gardens, volunteers planted traditional plant varieties that are cultigens of the American Southwest.
These demonstration gardens are intended to provide visitors with a visual image of what might have been grown at the time Tijeras Pueblo was occupied.
Stephanie Long Wins 2021 USDA Forest Service Volunteers Service Award
Stephanie Long won the 2021 USDA Forest Service Volunteers & Service Award for Citizen Stewardship & Partnership. Stephanie Long has been a volunteer and partner with the Sandia Ranger District since 2013. She is the co-founder of the Sandia Mountain Bear Collaborative (SMBC), whose mission is to better understand the black bear population in the Sandia Mountains and to educate the public about peacefully coexisting with bears and other wildlife in the area.
Forest Service Associate Chief Angela Coleman announced the winners of the FY2021 Annual Volunteers & Service Awards in a video, including Stephanie Long. Celebrating our Volunteers.
Fence Modification for Pronghorn Passage
April 2022 – Kiowa National Grasslands - The New Mexico Chapter of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA), joined by their armed forces initiative out of Kirtland AFB, volunteered to work with the Kiowa NG staff and biologist from NMDGF to modify fences for safer pronghorn passage.
The volunteers improved 10 miles of fence line by raising the bottom barbed wire up to a more suitable height, and by completely replacing the lowest barbed wire with smooth wire for ¾ mile in a critical area so pronghorn can better escape predators, find food, and access water
Removal of Down Trees on 10K North Trail
January 2022 – Sandia Ranger District - Volunteers with the Friends of Sandia Mountains (FOSM) and staff of the Sandia RD worked to remove 28 down trees from 1.5 miles of the 10K North Trail in the snow.
The diameter of the largest log removed was 30 inches where it was cut. The diameter of the largest log found across the trail was over 40 inches.
The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands has so much appreciation for the commitment and hard work of the FOSM volunteers.
Trail Relocation Work in Placitas
January 2022 - Sandia Ranger District - In coordination with the Cibola NF & NGs and the Sandia Ranger District, volunteers with the Friends of Sandia Mountains (FOSM) and Placitas Area Trails Association (PATA) recently worked to complete relocation of a user-created trail in Placitas as part of the Sandia Trail Improvement Project.
The overall purpose of this trail reroute was to improve long-term trail sustainability and protection of adjacent resources while providing added dispersed recreation opportunities in the Placitas Area Trails System.
Volunteers Assist in Clearing Hazardous Tree
December 2021 - Sandia Ranger District - Thanks to Friends of the Sandia Mountains (FOSM) volunteers for helping the Sandia Ranger District staff to clear a hazardous tree from Capulin Snow Play Area access road. Because of our volunteers there was lots of winter fun to enjoy from the recent snow event!
“FOSM is awesome. Always appreciate how much they all do for the district and the public!” Crystal Powell, Sandia District Ranger
Challenge Trail Extension Project
October 2021 - Sandia Ranger District - In coordination with the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands and the Sandia Ranger District, volunteers with the Friends of Sandia Mountains and the Albuquerque Mountain Bike Association completed construction of phase 1 (of 2) on approximately 1.45 miles of the Challenge Trail Extension Project. The overall purpose of this project trail was to provide for a loop opportunity for all users as well as providing an alternative to the Tree Spring Trail (which is very popular with hikers) for bicycles. Photo courtesy of Jenny Blackmore, Friends of the Sandia Mountains (FOSM).
Kerry Wood, Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands Trails and Wilderness Manager, stated:
As more and more people visit the forest to recreate and explore, a well-designed and constructed trail system is essential to provide the opportunities they seek while protecting resources. We have a wealth of highly experienced and motivated volunteers on the Sandia Ranger District to assist in making that idea a reality – we couldn’t do it without them.
National Public Lands Day Graffiti Removal
September 2021 - Sandia Ranger District
As part of National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the Friends of the Sandia Mountains (FOSM) and the Talking Talons Youth Leadership/Youth Conservation Corps (TTYL/YCC) used specific process techniques and chemicals to remove graffiti from two locations. Working in coordination with the Sandia Ranger District, crews removed graffiti from two locations in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Water System Canyon just east of the La Luz Trailhead parking lot. The Forest Service thanks all our volunteers for their contributions to public lands, especially when it involves such hard work to repair acts of deliberate vandalism.
Restoration Tree Planting
September 2021 - Sandia Ranger District
Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, trees contribute to their environment over long periods of time by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife.
Reforestation work starts with analysis after a fire or other disturbance to determine long-term objectives of the land based on the forest plan. Developing site-specific reforestation requirements is part of the analysis. Where reforestation is required, treatments are designed to achieve satisfactory stocking promptly.
Planting on the Sandia Ranger District was completed by volunteers to include the Friends of the Sandia Mountains (FOSM) and Talking Talons Youth Leadership.
Forest Trash Cleanup Work
June 2021 - Mt Taylor Ranger District
The New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA) and the Mt. Taylor District of the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands hosted a clean-up event on Mt Taylor. Citizens from the Mt Taylor area and beyond assisted in the cleanup after other people to keep the forest clean. Volunteer crews worked along Forest Service roads and trails to remove bottles, cans, furniture, tires, and more trash to fill 40-yard dumpster.
Trail Grooming Work
June 2021 - Sandia Ranger District
Friends of the Sandia Mountains (FOSM) volunteers cleared a segment of corridor for a groomed trail being developed by the Sandia Nordic Ski Club (SNSC) in the area between 10K South Trailhead and Ellis Trailhead.
Due to the Stage II Fire Restrictions that were in place at the time, gasoline chain saws were used to fell trees and buck logs until 10 am. Later, battery-powered chain saws were used to fell smaller trees and buck logs. Approximately two dozen trees were felled with diameters ranging from 4 inches to 12 inches. Numerous logs were bucked so that they could be moved to the side of the corridor.
Trail Connection & Gate Install Work
April 2021 - Mt Taylor Ranger District
Volunteers from Adventure Gallup assisted Cibola NF & NGs staff on the Mt Taylor Ranger District in a very productive workday. The crew worked to install gates and approximately 1,000 feet of new trail connecting to the new Milk Ranch Trailhead.
Amazing group of volunteers making a difference on the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands.
Fence Modification Work
April 2021 - Kiowa National Grasslands
New Mexico Chapter of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) held a volunteer event on the Kiowa National Grasslands to do important project work for the district. Over 30 BHA volunteers helped to improve wildlife habitat connectivity for pronghorn by modifying the bottom wire of fences.
Leia Barnett, a BHA volunteer, measures the bottom wire of a fence to see if it’s tall enough for pronghorn to pass under on the Kiowa National Grasslands.
View the project video.
Trail Repair Work
February 2021 - Sandia Ranger District
Volunteers of the 505/Elevate Cycling Team assisted Cibola NF & NGs staff in work on trails #230 and #365 in the Sandia Foothills.
This work was implemented to repair sections of trail that were previously showing high rates of soil loss and erosion due to improper trail design. Due to deteriorating conditions of the trail, several alternate paths had developed on both sides creating further impacts to the area. With small scale relocations, drainage is improved therefor improving condition of the official trail, so alternatives are not created. Further erosion and sedimentation impacting local area watershed health is eliminated.
Restoration Tree Planting
November 2020 - Sandia Ranger District
Volunteers from Friends of Sandia Mountains assisted Cibola National Forest staff in planting over 200 ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir seedlings on the east mountains of the Sandia Ranger District. This area had been harvested the previous year to remove dead and dying trees from an infestation of fir engraver and Douglas-fir tussock moth.
“This was a great day of hard work and we so appreciate the Friends of Sandia Mountain volunteers in working with us to successfully accomplish this important process with such care”. Shawn Martin, Cibola NF & NGs Forest Silviculturist.