Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern
In 1988 8,865 acres of the Nambé Badlands were designatedResource Management Plan, March 1987, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque District, Taos Resource Area, BLM-NM-PT-87-006-4410 as the Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in order to protect the internationally significant paleontological resources (fossils) found in the area. Significant paleontological resources found north of the 1988 Sombrillo ACEC, and identification of cultural resources, resulted in the BLM expanding the Sombrillo ACEC to 18,190 acres in 2010Draft Taos Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, June 3, 2010, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque District, Taos Resource Area, … Continue reading.
Beginning in 2011, illegal mountain bike trail construction and irresponsible mountain bikers initiated significant damage to these resources and ecologically sensitive soils in this ACEC. The protections defined by the Sombrillo ACEC designation require official geological, paleontological, and cultural assessments prior to any surface disturbing activity. The illegal mountain bike trail construction, ongoing since 2011, includes using tools to carve out trails on sensitive ridgelines, cut trees (both pinyon and juniper), and cut new trails across virgin areas of biological soil crusts and stratigraphic layers.
The illegal trail building has accelerated in the area. What once was a beautiful area to hike, bike, and ride horseback is quickly becoming destroyed.
The Sombrillo Area of Environmental Concern consists of the three separated areas, as shown in this map.