Commonweal Conservancy, a nonprofit community-development and conservation organization, recently received $65,000 in grants for construction of a new gathering spot and for development of five miles of trails in the Galisteo Basin Preserve. The preserve is Commonweal’s 13,000-acre project located in Santa Fe County’s Galisteo Basin, an ecological region celebrated for its historic cultures, scenery and wildlife.
In June, PNM Resources Foundation announced that Commonweal would receive a $50,000 Power-Up Grant, one of four awarded to New Mexico nonprofit organizations in 2014. The foundation describes the initiative as an investment in the communities PNM serves across the state.
PNM’s grant to Commonweal will support the construction of a 60-seat, multiuse outdoor amphitheater that will become a new venue for a wide variety of events that Commonweal sponsors at the preserve, including guided hikes, mountain bike rides, star parties, public lectures, performances and fireside story-telling evenings. The amphitheater’s proximity to a proposed memorial landscape/green cemetery will facilitate memorial services and life celebrations. Commonweal will also rent the facility for weddings, birthday and anniversary parties and other events.
On May 20, REI announced a gift of $15,000 to Commonweal to support the development of five miles of publicly accessible trails. The preserve’s existing trail network includes more than 22 miles of hiking, cycling and equestrian trails. According to recent surveys, thousands of hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians enjoy the preserve’s trails each year. Commonweal has built and maintained the trail system with help from the Friends of the Preserve and other volunteers, along with assistance from the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society. Over the past two years, REI has contributed $10,000 to Commonweal to facilitate construction of seven miles of trails within the 13,000-acre preserve. An additional 25 miles of trails are planned for construction during the next five years.
On Sept. 27, REI and Commonweal will co-sponsor a volunteer trail-building workshop at the preserve to correspond with National Public Lands Day. Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and will be registered in a drawing for other giveaways. Commonweal will sponsor a second volunteer trail-building workshop on Oct. 12. For more information about the trail-building events, contact Commonweal at 505.982.0071.
Gretchen Grogan is project manager with Commonweal Conservancy.