Respect the Land


The soils and ridges in the Nambé Badlands and the Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) are fragile and highly erosive.

Just one person walking off an established trail leaves footprint scars in the soft dirt and cryptobiotic soil that can last for decades.

The Friends of the Nambé Badlands keeps track of resource damages in the Sombrillo ACEC and shares these damage reports with the BLM Taos Office.

Keep Single Track Single!  Shortcuts like this result in long-term damage to the Sombrillo ACEC.

When you yield to another trail user, please try not to ride or step off the trail into the fragile soil.  If you have to, get off your bike to let the other user with the right of way pass.  Bike tracks channel water causing more erosion than a few discontiguous footprints.

Stay on the existing trail.  If you do not have the skills to ride on a single-track, please ride on dirt roads until you can keep your bike on the single-track trail.

When meeting others on the trail, and yielding, find a wider spot in the existing trail, a pullout, to pass each other, instead of stepping off into the fragile soils.


It takes many decades for trees to grow in the Nambé Badlands and Sombrillo ACEC.  Climate change and beetle kill have decimated the pinyon pines that were abundant in the Nambé Badlands 20 years ago.  The remaining trees are struggling to hang on.  Drought is now even killing some of the juniper trees.  These trees need all their branches and needles for photosynthesis (food).  They need their roots for what little water is in the badlands.  The cryptobiotic soil that surrounds the trees helps to infiltrate precious water into the soil, providing water and nutrients for the trees. Please do not cut any trees, especially if you do not have official approval from the BLM.

Pinon Tree cut by mountain bikers building illegal trails in the Nambe Badlands

Pinon Tree cut by mountain bikers constructing unauthorized trails in the Sombrillo ACEC.  Photo was taken on April 24, 2021.

Juniper Tree cut by mountain bikers constructing unauthorized trails in the Sombrillo ACEC.  The photo was taken April 24, 2021

When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

— Aldo Leopold

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