Proposal VCNP South Rim Trail: Rabbit Ridge. To: From: Date: Subject:

Board of Trustees, Valles Caldera Trust Dorothy Hoard, Rim Trail Reconnaissance August 2008 Public Uses of the Valles Caldera National Preserve Proposal to build a new hiking trail on the south rim of the Valles Caldera

1. Purpose and Need:

The Valles Caldera National Preserve (VNCP) owns the finest viewpoints along the rim overlooking the grasslands of the Valles Caldera. It owns the only viewpoints on the south rim. The VCNP can offer the public the opportunity view the extent of the caldera that the government purchased at great expense for the American people. A trail along Rabbit Ridge on the south rim would help meet that obligation. In addition, such a trail would offer additional recreational destinations for visitors to the Jemez Mountains.

1.1 Background:

Bandelier National Monument acquired almost 4,000 acres of the southeastern corner of the original Baca Location No. 1 by purchases in 1977, 1996, and 2000, the last date as a part of the creation of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The boundary between Bandelier and the Baca Location was set at the watershed divide— the rim of the caldera.

Prior to September 2005, the Bandelier property adjacent to the preserve, part of its Cerro Unit, was closed to all public use. In 2004, in response to long-standing public objections to this closure, Bandelier staff performed an environmental assessment (EA) for the Cerro Unit, including National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) studies for cultural and biological resources. As part of the EA, staff held local public hearings. Public response unanimously favored opening the unit. While there was no demand for elaborate infrastructure, such as picnic areas with facilities, the public requested trails. In 2005, Bandelier opened its boundary area to day-use only, non-vehicular, unrestricted public access and marked two trails. The park neither restricts nor encourages hiking in other areas.

South Rim of the Valles Caldera: Rabbit Ridge. Rabbit Mountain on right. 1

Under private ownership, the southeast corner of the Baca Location No. 1 was logged and grazed. Consequently, miles of stock and logging roads traverse this small area, providing easy access to many parts. In 2003, as part of its recreation program, the VCNP opened as fee hikes two abandoned logging roads south of State Road 4. One of these, the Rabbit Ridge Trail, ascended to the eastern end of the ridge. In 2004, Bandelier requested that this trail be closed because people were inadvertently trespassing onto Bandelier property. The VCNP did so, and later designated the other trail, Coyote Call, as a no-fee hike.

1.2 Current Conditions:

The Preserve side of the boundary is steep and heavily wooded, with abundant deadfall that discourages trespass. Therefore, the logging road on the VCNP that ascends Rabbit Ridge is the only feasible route to the rim at this time. In 2005, Bandelier personnel installed some Bandelier Boundary signs along Rabbit Ridge, and Preserve surveyors erected conspicuous survey angle points along the line. However, most of the boundary is unmarked or obscurely marked. In all practicality, there are few ways hikers on the rim can ascertain if they are on Bandelier or on the VCNP.

Four rock fields originate at the ridge line; these fields provide excellent viewpoints into the caldera from the south rim. The narrow ridge itself is a pleasant walk. The summit is fairly clear, but the caldera wall is covered with a dense, impenetrable forest. Bandelier’s southern slope is less steep and the forest is broken by aspen-ringed meadows. The ridge line varies in width, with the narrowest part midway along the spine. Even at narrow points, there are no physical impediments to preclude a safe path across the whole of Rabbit Ridge. Game trails traverse the length of the ridge.

The logging road to Rabbit Ridge. This road branches off the Coyote Call Trail

The Bandelier/VCNP boundary turns abruptly south at the high knoll at the west end of Rabbit Ridge. In the 2000 legislation creating the VCNP, Congress established the boundary to give Bandelier control of the Alamo Canyon watershed; the south flank of this knoll separates the watersheds of Alamo and Cochiti canyons.

Four rock fields, each 20 or so feet wide, originate from the ridge on the valle side.


Game trails traverses the ridge. The orange stake marks the boundary between the VCNP and Bandelier National Monument.

The view from each rock field varies somewhat in aspect. 3

Rabbit Ridge has other interesting features besides its viewpoints; one is on this knoll. The north slope is protected from the weather, which locally comes from the southwest. The slope contains a very old and decadent forest, an interesting moment of time in the life of a forest.

Rabbit Mountain anchors the west end of Rabbit Ridge. It is entirely VNCP property. The broad, barren rock field that covers the summit of Rabbit Mountain prevents dense forest growth; consequently, views in all directions, except easterly, may, without hyperbole, be called spectacular. The south slope of Rabbit Mountain was once open grassland, but is now lightly invaded by aspen. This slope and a low ridge lead directly to Forest Road 268 on Paso del Norte, which is also on the caldera rim. Access to Rabbit Ridge is readily available from State Road 4 on the east and north, Forest Roads 36 and 289 (Dome Road) on the south and Forest Road 268 (del Norte Road) on the west.

In cooperation with a nordic ski club, the VCNP offers cross-country skiing to Rabbit Ridge in sufficiently snowy winters. A short ski trail traverses the eastern end of the ridge to the east-most viewpoint. The remainder of the VNCP boundary is closed to all access. The Preserve has the opportunity to offer a quality extension to this experience.

An old and decadent “ghost forest.”

Bandelier’s views to the south are rather restricted. Looking southeast, Cerro Picacho center; Cochiti Lake beyond.

Grasslands on the Bandelier side of Rabbit Ridge provide fine far views. Rio Grande Valley beyond.

Bandelier’s grasslands are truly spectacular when the aspens turn to gold. 4

Northeast across the Valle Grande to Chicoma Mountain

West to Las Conchas, Los Griegos and San Diego Canyon

North to Redondo Peak

Southeast to St. Peter’s Dome and the San Miguel Mountains.

Southwest to Aspen Peak; Peralta Ridge beyond.

The View from Rabbit Mountain 5



We propose that a trail be built along the spine of Rabbit Ridge from the east end of the ridge to Paso del Norte. We propose the trail be built to Forest Service standards extant at the time of approval, including trail grade and risk strategies for lightning avoidance. We recommend that the trail follow the caldera rim as closely as possible. In order to better integrate the area with the Bandelier Cerro Unit, we propose that a trail be built from Scooter Pass up to the east end of the ridge, adhering to a grade consistent with Forest Service standards.

Because this route has not been disturbed in the past, we feel that the equivalent of an Environmental Assessment is an appropriate requirement prior to construction, including National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) surveys for cultural resources and endangered species habitat. Prior to opening the Cerro Unit. Bandelier staff conducted such surveys. The results may prove valuable to the Preserve, owing to the very narrow strip between the Bandelier boundary and the dense forest on the north wall of the caldera.

The enabling legislation establishing the Valles Caldera National Preserve requires that the Preserve become financially self-sustaining. However, we feel that it would be impractical and inefficient to try to charge for use of this route. Bandelier National Monument has an entry fee, but does not collect for use of their Cerro Unit, nor does the Preserve charge for use of the Coyote Call Trail.



Following the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000, the local community enlisted volunteer groups to repair the recreational infrastructure largely destroyed by the fire. These groups became well-trained in building trails; they are still intact and easily contacted for volunteer opportunities. Los Alamos County has an active program to recruit community youth for outdoor projects including trail work. In addition, the Amigos del Valle Grande have organized work parties and developed contacts in the greater hiking communities in northern New Mexico, including the New Mexico Mountain Club and cross-country ski clubs. We feel that labor to do physical trail work is readily available. In addition, these groups have necessary equipment.

Professional societies have programs that can provide certified NEPA surveyors. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Bandelier National Monument, and the Santa Fe National Forest all have staff who perform NEPA studies. Several of these people have expressed an interest in trails around the rim of the Valles Caldera and have offered to help. Even so, Preserve staff must be involved with approval, oversight and preparation of final documents. We would make every attempt to keep such effort to a minimum.


Recreation Potential.


Further Considerations

We feel that a trail across Rabbit Ridge, combined with a hiking trail on the east rim of the caldera, would enhance hiking opportunities in the Jemez Mountains and attract hiking and cross country groups from a wider geographic area than do the current Preserve offerings. Preserve staff may be concerned that hikers may wander off the trail, either to trespass onto areas of the Preserve reserved for fee activities or to simply get lost. This is not likely. The preserve side of the caldera wall is exceedingly steep and the forest is dense, containing much deadfall. These conditions surely deter most visitors. The National Park System prohibits free-roaming pets. Bandelier patrols along State Road 4 enforce this restriction. If the boundary between the two entities were transparent, we feel that pets would not be an issue.

Submitted by Dorothy Hoard

11 Los Arboles Los Alamos NM 87544 505 662-2662 [email protected]

Photographs by Peter Johnson, and Dorothy Hoard. 6

Rabbit Ridge Red=rim; purple=improved dirt road; green=existing trail on abandoned road; pink=recommended route Total length of trail needed=approximately 2.5 miles.


VCNP South Rim Trail_ Rabbit Ridge - August 2008.pdf ...

Page 1 of 7. 1. Proposal. VCNP South Rim Trail: Rabbit Ridge. To: Board of Trustees, Valles Caldera Trust. From: Dorothy Hoard, Rim Trail Reconnaissance.

13MB Sizes 1 Downloads 187 Views

Recommend Documents

VCR S3 Rabbit Ridge to Rabbit Mountain.pdf
Resource Manager at Bandelier National Monument,. gave me a permit to investigate the rim forming the. boundary between Bandelier and the Valles Caldera.

South Pacific Microstates PSDI Country Overviews August 2016.pdf ...
Page 2 of 2. South Pacific Microstates PSDI Country Overviews August 2016.pdf. South Pacific Microstates PSDI Country Overviews August 2016.pdf. Open.

North Rim Public Use and Access - August 2008.pdf
Page 3 of 8. Page 3 of 8. North Rim Public Use and Access - August 2008.pdf. North Rim Public Use and Access - August 2008.pdf. Open. Extract. Open with.

ELENCO DEI LIBRI DI TESTO. ADOTTATI O CONSIGLIATI. Anno Scolastico 2015-2016. Page 2 of 2. 4A-RIM-ISF.pdf. 4A-RIM-ISF.pdf. Open. Extract. Open with.

pacific rim blu.pdf
There was a problem loading more pages. pacific rim blu.pdf. pacific rim blu.pdf. Open. Extract. Open with. Sign In. Main menu. Displaying pacific rim blu.pdf.

Pacific rim 2
forevermoreshall befly formEvents in South Pacificrim2 throughout the year September- the Guinness jazzfestivalis held ... Ass .pdf-assorted. ... Pacific rim 2.

ridge regression.pdf
Find the best lambda parameter. > select(lm.ridge(trainset$Employed~.,data=trainset1,lambda=seq(0,10,0.001)). + ). modified HKB estimator is 4.074423e-05.

Cache Creek Ridge
Stalley, a recent graduate of Wellesley College; and her sister Alyssa Stalley, a recent ... Chuck Stalley is the former California state champion in Ride & Tie.

rabbit hole.pdf
There was a problem previewing this document. Retrying... Download. Connect more apps... Try one of the apps below to open or edit this item. rabbit hole.pdf.

blue ridge mountains
By Fleet Foxes. Fro the album 'Fleet Foxes'. CAPO IV. Em. E A D G B E. F#m. E A D G B E. G. E A D G B E. 0 2 2 0 3 0. 2 4 4 2 2 2. 3 5 5 4 3 3. Em*. E A D G B E.

Trail-Guide-To-The-South-Fork-With-A-Natural-History-Long-Island ...
There was a problem previewing this document. Retrying... Download. Connect more apps... Try one of the apps below to open or edit this item. Trail-Guide-To-The-South-Fork-With-A-Natural-History-Long-Island-New-York.pdf. Trail-Guide-To-The-South-Fork