The Trails and Open Space group talks about Boston Hill


(Photo by press staff by Geoffrey Plant)
Silver City Trails and Open Space Advisory Committee members Jay Hemphill, Martyn Pearson and President Bob Schiowitz examine the tumultuous waters at Silva Creek – and a small section of the new trail – Wednesday afternoon, ahead of a meeting committee held behind the Old Waterworks building on the Little Walnut Road.

The Silver City Trails and Open Spaces Advisory Committee met on Wednesday at the Old Waterworks Building on Little Walnut Road, also known as ‘The House of Rock’, where they were joined by the ACT Project Coordinator of Southwestern New Mexico, Bridgette Johns.

Abandoned mines
Advisory board member Marsha Sue Lustig said she attended the Boston Hill Mine Safeguard Project’s second meeting on abandoned mining land programs, which was held last week via Zoom. A draft environmental assessment prepared by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the United States Department of the Interior, Western Region, and the Las Cruces office of the US Bureau of Land Management is available – with maps – at emn mmd / wp-content / up loads / sites / 5 / Draft-Boston-Hill-EA_8-12-20211.pdf.
Early planning phases for a project that will shut down the most perilous features of the open pit mine on Boston Hill, while allowing access to bats, birds, animals and insects, have been underway since the start of This year.
Lustig said she had concerns about the amount of proposed fencing discussed during the webinar, and her fellow advisory board members agreed that while there may be more than a few dangerous precipices in space open from Boston Hill, all guarantees should be as minimal as possible. .
“It looked like they were going to fence off every cliff,” Lustig said, agreeing to follow up with advisory board chairman Bob Schiowitz to get more detailed maps of the guarantees offered and arrange some comments to be submitted.
Due to market instability, the weatherproof steel that was originally offered for fencing may now be too expensive.
“We could look at alternatives to weathering steel,” but the material needs to last at least 50 years and be low maintenance, said Mike Tompson, Abandoned Mine Land Program manager.
At the August 25 meeting, a recording of which is posted on YouTube, an anonymous person asked a question asking, “What if the community isn’t interested in protecting the High Walls?” To which Tompson said, “They should say the same, and we will not protect the high walls.”
Tompson added that “the city has a lot of responsibilities, and the city should have a say; I would listen carefully to the position of the city if no fence is desired.
“I think the best approach would be to involve our community development department,” Silver City Mayor Ken Ladner said during the discussion, although this department has shrunk significantly since the former director left. Jaime Embick on August 27.
Lustig also reported that there was opposition among a few members of the public who attended the remote meeting to interpretive signage – describing historical, cultural and other features of the once bustling mining area – that the state offered, somewhat surprisingly, to pay for.
Some Silver Citians have said they would prefer Boston Hill to be left more or less untouched, instead of being developed as a hiking hotspot.
Advisory board member Martyn Pearson said he envisioned the signs to have “little or no impact” on the landscape.
“People don’t know what they’re saying no to,” he said.
Schiowitz reiterated comments he made earlier about keeping an eye on materials and equipment that the safeguard project will eventually require bringing to Boston Hill, which he said could disrupt the work of the trail, if they are not properly coordinated.
There is a September 25 deadline for public comments on the draft environmental assessment, which can be submitted by email to jcar [email protected], by calling 505-353-9190 or by writing to DBS & A c / o Jean-Luc Cartron, 6020 Academy NE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, NM 87109

Old aqueduct
Southwest New Mexico ACT has worked with the City of Silver City to rehabilitate the Old Waterworks and make it a community resource and crossing point for hikers on the Continental Divide Trail, who typically access the trail north of Silver City by going up Little Walnut Road.
A mud wall has recently been erected on the north side of the property behind the stone house, and construction of a 35-by-25-foot “outdoor education pavilion” is expected to begin within the next month, a. Johns said.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation recently allocated $ 40,000 to engineering and design a Silva Creek Trail that will link Old Waterworks – and the Silva Creek Botanical Gardens on the west side of the creek – to Penny Park. The goal is to build access from the Waterworks to Penny Park and, a short distance from Penny Park, to part of the San Vicente Trail which passes just south of Gough Park. Ultimately, the desire is to connect all of the city’s trails and open spaces, including the recently acquired Hearst Mill site along Pinos Altos Creek, with an expanded Gough Park acting as a kind of hub.
Schiowitz said there might even be opportunities to include the Old Waterworks Cistern and surrounding city-owned land atop the ridge to the east, noting that the area is rich in Native American history.
Schiowitz told his fellow committee members that he would request a copy of the design for the Gough Park expansion from General Manager Alex Brown.
The former director of community development, Embick, usually attended advisory board meetings. And with his recent departure, Deputy Managing Director James Marshall was due to attend Wednesday’s meeting – but he was “under time,” Schiowitz said. But even with Emick’s participation in advisory board meetings, the advisory group sometimes played a small role in the city’s activities and planning for trails and open spaces.
“We can discuss these things as much as we want, but if that doesn’t happen at the [Town] Advice, what’s the point? said Schiowitz. “We need an advisor to liaise with us.”
Schiowitz also reported that the Silver City Watershed Keepers Reporter web app is up and running. The arcGIS-based tool is intended to help community members report issues along trails, in open spaces, and in the 38 square mile watershed that surrounds the city. Find it online at sourceReporter / ml? Appid = 2ec550c2745b 448ca c36ef2f8ed19d13.

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