On the Trail
Silver City celebrates its role as a gateway to
the Continental Divide Trail.
Hikers in Grant County have circled April 23 in red (or, perhaps more appropriately, in green) as the day to celebrate the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Silver City is being designated as the first "Gateway Community" on the trail, which the community will mark on that date at 4 p.m. at the visitors' center. Also on April 23, six "Warrior Hike" veterans following the trail to Canada will arrive here.
Organizer Shelby Hallmark explains, "A group of volunteers under the aegis of the Gila Conservation Education Center have been awarded a National Parks Service grant to work to enhance the connection between our community and the trails systems in the surrounding National Forest. The goal is to encourage our citizens to more fully engage in healthy outdoor recreation and to attract visitors and relocators to our area."
The Gateway Community designation and kick-off events are only the first steps (so to speak), Hallmark adds. "We look forward to devising a series of efforts to enhance CDT users' ability to access the trail via Silver City, and vice versa."
The Forest Service is in the process of re-routing the CDT around Silver City to the west, via the Burros and the Saddlerock area, and north across BLM land to LS Mesa and into the forest north of Bear Mountain Road. So, in the longer term, Hallmark envisions a connector trail from Silver City to the CDT. "That would give Grant County residents and WNMU students, as well as through hikers and other visitors, a quality off-street trail access. We'd also like this project to give impetus to building out the Master Greenways and Big Ditch Plan, ultimately hooking up those urban trails with the forest trails that surround us."
For more information, contact Hallmark at (575) 956-3497
Life in a State of Nature
More reader photos of creatures big and small.
With spring, well, springing, we expect a fresh batch of photos from readers showing wildlife in our neck of the desert. This month brings a few new contributors — keep them coming, folks!
Chelsi Straubinger of Silver City writes, "My family and I woke up one morning to a group of quail pecking around our front yard." Judging by the numbers here, "group" hardly begins to describe it!
At right, here's another from the treasure trove of critter photos sent by Andy Dimler of Denver. This one captures a red spotted toad, photographed in the Tres Hermanas Mountains of southern New Mexico.
Susan Byersdorfer emailed this caterpillar candid above with the note, "A while ago I came across a spectacular black-tailed rattlesnake in my front yard [shared in our October 2013 issue]. This week close to the same place I came across this equally spectacular, although small critter."
Shy photographer Susie (she didn't want us to use her last name) shared this photo at left of a red spotted purple limenitis arthemis taken during last year's Gila River Festival, on a butterfly walk in the Saddleback area.
We expect to be seeing a lot more hummingbirds any day now, but for the moment just enjoy this open-mouthed snapshot by Robert B. Loren of Silver City. He writes: "This shows rare behavior of a hummingbird in flight, with its beak open. Unfortunately, the birds did not give me the choice of a good composition or background.
Finally, our own Southwest Wildlife writer Jay W. Sharp sent this photo taken in mid-February — a sign of the (dry) times, he notes: "This white-wing dove, nesting in the fork of a metal sculpture of a saguaro cactus in the front yard of a home in Mesilla, is a measure of how warm our spring has been this year. The white wings usually nest in the spring. Our highs for the day, as you probably know, have been in the high 70s for the past some days. By contrast, three years ago, our February temperatures had dropped to 6 or 7 degrees below zero — a difference of more than 80 degrees. Actually, I think most of us would trade these beautiful, warm, dry days for a few inches of precipitation. We're desperate for the moisture."
Rain or shine, share your own photos of local creatures great and small. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062,
and include your postal address for a little thank-you.
The Tumbleweeds Top 10
Who and what's been making news from New Mexico this past month, as measured by mentions in Google News (news.google.com). Trends noted are vs. last month's total hits; * indicates new to the list. Number in parenthesis indicates last month's Top 10 rank. The drought is back to number-one, no doubt soon to be joined by "wildfires." We're also tracking New Mexico's efforts to woo the Tesla electric-car plant. In other high-tech news, it always makes us nervous when Virgin Galactic gets so much coverage with no mention of Spaceport America (35 hits).
- (2) New Mexico drought — 273 hits (▼)
- (1) Virgin Galactic — 256 hits (▼)
- (3) New Mexico + immigration — 242 hits (▼)
- (4) Gov. Susana Martinez — 218 hits (▼)
- (5) Sen. Tom Udall — 152 hits (▲)
- (7) New Mexico same-sex marriage — 130 hits (▲)
- (-) New Mexico + Tesla — 129 hits*
- (6) Sen. Martin Heinrich — 92 hits (▼)
- (-) Susana Martinez + 2016 — 61 hits (▼)
- (10) Rep. Steve Pearce — 58 hits (▼)