A timeline of events and communications related to the BLM Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Friends of the Nambe Badlands Cleanup of NM 503


Friends of the Nambe Badlands Members Melinda Baker, Linda Fluk (Treasurer), Laura Marsh (Board Member), Corinne Karuppan (Secretary), Karen Kraig, and Ed MacKerrow (President) picked up 14 trash bags of trash along NM 503 through the Nambe Badlands.  The good news is that there was noticeably less trash than our last trash pickup.  Thank you to all that volunteered to help clean up this scenic route!


New Illegal Mountain Bike Trail documented in the Sombrillo ACEC

A new mountain trail was found on a survey ride with BLM interns on 2/13/2023.  This bike trail heads south from the top of the steepest climb (heading west) on BLM Trail Segment 62 on the “Main West Loop trail.”

A new mountain bike trail was found that travels south from the north end of the Main West Loop. GPS coordinates of starting area are approximately 35.93028, -105.97459.  This new illegal trail heads south from BLM Trail Segment 62, close to where BLM Trail Segment 15P is marked on the BLM Trail Inventory Map.

See the purple dotted line and text for this new illegal trail on the BLM Trail Inventory Map (which does not include this new trail)


New Illegal Trail documented in the Sombrillo ACEC

The trail shown on the left in the photo below is a new illegal trail constructed in early 2023 in the Sombrillo ACEC.



The map below is the most recent BLM official trail survey, where we have indicated the illegal trail photo-documented and GPS recorded on 3/6/2023.



Meeting with BLM in Sombrillo ACEC to assess resource damage and potential signage

Taos BLM employees survey about 10 miles of trails in the Sombrillo ACEC, assessing resource damage and potential areas for trail signs to help reduce future damage.

Some new trails and damage to the Sombrillo ACEC soils from motorcycles and ATVs were found.


Damage from intentional off-trail motorcycle riding in the cryptobiotic soil crusts is shown in this photo.  No motor vehicles are allowed in Sombrillo ACEC.


Motor vehicle tracks in the Sombrillo ACEC.


A newly constructed illegal trail in the Sombrillo ACEC was found off the historic “West Loop”.  This new trail follows a ridgeline to the south.


Increasing off-trail damage to the fragile mounds close to where fossils of horses and camels from the Miocene were found.  This mound remained untouched for decades, with no footprints from hikers or bikers.  Now, it has turned into a stunt area with mountain bike tire ruts everywhere, increasing erosion and visual resources.


Motorcycle tracks from blatant disregard for the ACEC, riding off trail through many miles of cryptobiotic soil crusts.  No motor vehicles are allowed in the Sombrillo ACEC.


Intentional wildcatting of new trails across fragile soils in the Sombrillo ACEC.  This trail was created perpendicular to an existing authorized trail across untouched fragile soils in an area where significant paleontological resources were discovered.

Communication from Taos BLM Office Regarding Sombrillo ACEC

The BLM thanks you for your continued interest and patience, in the Sombrillo Travel Management planning process.

The BLM will be working with our partners to put up educational and control signage in the Sombrillo Travel Management area in the next few weeks.

You may also see crews in the area completing Paleontological surveys of the Sombrillo Area of Critical Concern (ACEC). Please be respectful of the work crews, follow any signage that is posted and give the work crews the right-of-way to complete their surveys.

The BLM continues to receive reports of a users yelling or cursing other users. Please remind your friends and family to share the trails and be respectful of each other. A few bad apples from any of the user groups can equate to a negative view of that entire user group.

As a reminder: please remember that no trail work, including the construction of trails, trimming of trees or posting signs is permitted. Any such unapproved on-the-ground work will be investigated by the BLM.

If you wish to forward this e-mail to others who are interested in the Sombrillo Travel Management process, please feel free to do so.

Thank You

Judy Culver (BLM Taos Field Office)

Meeting with BLM Taos Office regarding signs for the Sombrillo ACEC

Judy Culver, Taos BLM, holds a meeting in Taos to discuss signage for the Sombrillo ACEC.  The outcome of that meeting was that BLM Interns Dominic Pino and Spencer Wilson would install signs to stay on existing trails, stay off cryptobiotic soil crusts, and Sombrillo ACEC trailhead signs.


In attendance:

Judy Culver (BLM)

Spencer Wilson (BLM)

Dominic Pino (BLM)

Linda Flux (Friends of the Nambe Badlands)

Ed MacKerrow (Friends of the Nambe Badlands)

Friends of the Nambe Badlands Cleanup of NM 503




Seven members of the Friends of the Nambé Badlands picked up 16 large trash bags of litter on NM 503 between mile markers 4-6 on July 30, 2022, between 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM.

Thank you for helping to beautify this scenic stretch of the High Road to Taos!

Thank you:

  • Linda Fluk (Organizer)
  • Fernando Garzon
  • Laura Marsh
  • David Krogdahl
  • Marcy Anderson
  • Donna Berg
  • Craig Allen

Littering along roadsides seems to be contagious.  The cleanup effort by these volunteers will help keep this beautiful stretch of highway clear of trash, we hope, for a long time.

BLM Taos Office installs Sombrillo ACEC signs

The Bureau of land management (BLM) Taos Field Office installed Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern signs at the trailhead of Santa Fe County Road 113 and on the NM 503 trailhead.


We thank the Taos BLM Office for this important step in recognizing the Sombrillo ACEC and hope increasing the awareness of the ACEC will help protect it.

Sombrillo ACEC official sign on County Road 113, Santa Fe, County.

Friends of the Nambé Badlands litter clean up of NM 503 through the Sombrillo ACEC

8 volunteers:

Linda Fluk, Melinda Baker, Corinne Karuppan, Muthu Karuppan,Ed MacKerrow, Fernando Garzon, Dave Dougrel, Laura Marsh,

18 large garbage bags of trash and recycling was picked up

2 miles of road cleaned




Extended Comment Period for the Sombrillo TMA Route Inventory Ends

See the BLM NEPA Register for the Sombrillo Travel Management Plan

The Bureau of land management (BLM) Taos Field Office has begun to reanalyze the route inventory for the SombrilloTravel Management Area (TMA). The TMA is approximately20 miles north of Santa Fe, east of US-84/Hwy 285extending north to Espanola,and south of Hwy 76 extending east to the Santa Fe National Forest. Travel management includes all forms of transportation, including travel by foot, horseback, and mechanized vehicles such as bicycles as well as the numerous forms of motorized vehicles from motorcycles and four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles to cars and trucks.

Public open house meetings were held November 13 and November 20, 2021 to review an updated route inventory. Those interested in the travel planning process, including the route inventory, the adjusted preliminary route network alternatives, and draft documents pertinent to recreational and access opportunities, please note the following schedule:

January 15: Results of route inventory available to the public.

February-April: PaleontologicalSurvey completed; follow-up cultural survey completed; any additional survey work completed.

April-May: Routeevaluation and alternatives completed; Public Input opportunity.

June: Draft EA released for public comment.

Comments on the route inventory will be accepted until January 1, 2022. Comments may be submitted electronically from this webpage using the feature under “Documents.” Written comments may be mailed to the Taos Field Office:


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