With groundbreaking expected in approximately one month, the Ruidoso River Trail project will be incorporated as part of the Billy the Kid Scenic By-Way and will be scheduled into three phases. The river trail and other public green space concepts are no stranger to nearly every community in the Rocky Mountain region. Places like Durango, Steamboat Springs, Loveland and metropolitan areas of Colorado incorporate green space trail systems to lessen the impact of density and preserve wildlife habitats while offering the public a source of convenient outdoor recreation opportunities.
“Phase one of the village river trail project will be constructed completely on land owned by the Village of Ruidoso,” Doth said.
The first phase of the project will begin with Two Rivers Park and end at a location behind McGary’s Art studio. The Parks and Recreation board enlisted Loris and Associates from Lafayette, Colo. to design the trail network.
Loris and Associates was hired for their history of experience with developing public green space and trail systems throughout the region.
One key component of phase one is the development of an interactive sculpture garden near Two Rivers Park. Artwork for the garden will be sold to help provide supplemental funding for trail system enhancements. The River Trail will also provide abundant opportunities for community partnerships.
“We have 100 percent of the design completed on the Two Rivers Park area where the bronze artwork will be presented,” she said. Renowned western artist Gordon Snidow of Ruidoso donated the first piece of artwork for the sculpture park. Friends of the Rio Ruidoso River Trails will work on developing a program for the sustainability of the trail through art shows and other activities. Joan Dale Hubbard of The Hubbard Foundation has been extremely supportive since the project’s inception, Doth said.
Friends of the Rio Ruidoso River Trails, a local advocacy group, will assist with developing a program for the sustainability of the trail through the organization of year-round activities. Conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wild Turkey Federation and the Lincoln County Humane Society have indicated interest to raise funds for habitat improvement, park benches and picnic areas along the trail.
“Community partnerships will help enhance the basic platform of the trail system and provide an opportunity for everyone to get involved with the sustained beautification of the trail system,” Doth said.
The river trail is touted as a long overdue asset which will enhance our scenic by-way, promote healthy lifestyles, showcase the local environment and stimulate the economy as yet another interactive attraction for locals and tourists alike. Village Councilor Jim Stoddard highly recommended ADA Handicap access in addition to pedestrian and vehicle separation for the mixed use trail that will accommodate a combination of walkers, bicyclists and ‘four-legged’ friends. “This is a project that would be in nowhere land without you,” Councilor Jim Stoddard told Doth. Stoddard has relentlessly campaigned for the Ruidoso river trail since he was elected to village council after decades of stalls and setbacks for the project.
Re-establishing fishing habitat and providing historical aspects of the area in addition to flora and fauna educational tools along the trail topped off the evening forum which created an air of excitement and opportunity for the community.