We had yet another very successful workday this month! We had a great turnout with 21 volunteers to include two out of state visitors — Roger and Holly Rosin — from Minnesota. They were corralled in to our workday by Rails-to-Trails member John Reimer.

Thirteen volunteers gathered at the parking area at the top of the Bridal Veil Falls trail and walked the 1/2 mile down-trail to the worksite where 2 Forest Service representatives, Dario Samora and Heather Burman (along with other volunteer trail workers) met everyone after using a private back road to deliver an excavator and hand tools needed for the job.

Dario, under the guidance of Heather, dug almost 450 feet of drainage ditch with the excavator.  The huge amount of resulting dirt and rocks had to be moved and relocated by hand and wheelbarrow to fill in eroding sections of the trail and to smooth the trail tread.

The new ditch, and another 600 feet or so of existing ditch, had to be cleared of debris, rocks, shrubs,  and some of the original rail road ties.  Of course, all the railroad memorabilia was carefully repositioned along the trail out of the path of potential water damage.

One particularly large rock in the path of the excavator had to be broken with chisel and sledge into several manageable pieces for moving — it was a really back-breaking and bone jarring ordeal!

All this “chain-gang” type rock and dirt work, and a warm day, proved to be very exhausting, even to the five Holloman volunteers whom we relied on for their strong backs while those who were a little older and smart enough not to get caught up in the heavy rock stuff and pushing wheelbarrows, cleared culverts in the area and “beautified” the trail by smoothing the dirt and lining the trail with rocks.

Next month, we plan to  begin restoring a 100+ year old erosion control structure and continue trail repair, all in this same area.

Just a few of our volunteers for the day

Rails-to-Trails crew heading up the trail

Some volunteers hauling some of the seemingly endless dirt and rocks

Regulars Glen Fess and Doug Holcolmb along with another dedicated volunteer hauling more dirt!

Making big rocks into small rocks!

As always, we’ve got many more photos! Check them out on our official Flickr page!


It was another cool day at the Dog Canyon trail above Oliver Lee State Park main building. Everyone that showed was ready to continue our work from last month in getting the trail in good shape and ready for summer hiking traffic.

This month we had 14 volunteers show up ready to do some work. We had a bunch of regulars as well as 3 new faces in the crowd to include some younger, more able bodied airmen from Holloman willing to carry 5 gallon buckets of dirt (around 60 pounds each — a welcome and significant bit of help to us old guys!).

Once again, we were reminded of how steep and rocky this trail can be but the view is worth the extra effort in getting up there. We split into two groups, one led by board member Doug Holcomb and the other by our longtime dedicated volunteer, Glenn Fess. Both groups essentially dug up loose dirt where we could find it (out of view from the trail) and hauled 5 gallon buckets to the trail wherever it was needed to shore up the large rock “steps” along the trail. On the way down near the end of the workday, Doug and a few others cleared the loose gravel that accumulated at each trail switchback.

Some of our volunteers for the day

Again, Jeremy Evans, the Forest Service employee that has been joining us over the last several months made the long drive from Cloudcroft and brought all the tools we needed for the day.

Again, we feel like it was a very successful work day and we really appreciate everyone that participated. Next month we SHOULD be hitting the Bridal Veil Falls trail — more to come on that as always!

Rails-to-Trails crew heading up the trail

Our dedicated volunteers from Holloman hauling a bucket of dirt up the trail

Laura Letterman, John Reimer and Don Draney filling up one of the 5 gallon buckets with dirt

Great view of Oliver Lee State Park campgrounds far below

As always, we’ve got many more photos! Check them out on our official Flickr page!

Workday – January 25th

What we’ll be doing: We will be doing repair and maintenance on the Riparian Nature Trail at Oliver Lee State Park in the Dog Canyon area. We may also finish some trail repair work that we started last workday (in December) on the lower part of the Dog Canyon Trail just above the park headquarters. Tools will be provided and as always bring plenty of drinking water, sun protection, work gloves and sturdy boots.

When/Where: Saturday, January 25th at 9am. Gather in the parking area of Oliver Lee State Park.

DIRECTIONS TO OLIVER LEE STATE PARK: At the intersection of US70 and US54 on the south side of Alamogordo (just west of the overpass), drive south about 8.7 miles on US54 and turn toward the mountains on the road indicated by the sign to the Park.  Travel about 4 miles to the Park headquarters.  Drop your passengers off in the parking area, but park your car just outside the gate to the parking area. Ignore the self-service fee station.

If you need any additional information, please call 575-434-1949 and ask for Grady or e-mail nmrailtrails@gmail.com