Sombrillo ACEC (West Side of NM 503)

March 5, 2024

  • Trail conditions have dried out. Forecast for storms this weekend will bring bad some mud and snow.
  • Please avoid any muddy areas until they dry out.
  • Please stay on the existing trails; someone with an e-bike and fat tires is destroying the fragile soils off the trail. E-bikes are not allowed in the areas where Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) are also not allowed. OHVs are prohibited on the Sombrillo ACEC and BLM trails west of NM 503 — therefore, eBikes are also prohibited in the Sombrillo ACEC.
  • There is nothing worst than finding human poop and toilet paper on the trail or unburied. Lately, human defecation (shit) piles and toilet paper are being found in the Sombrillo ACEC. Learn how to poop in the woods responsibly.
  • PLEASE CONTROL YOUR DOG(S) while using the BLM lands. Your dog can be off-leash only if you can control it. Please be aware that other hikers, bikers, equestrians, and dog walkers also use the trails and can come into close contact with you and your dogs anytime.
  • Please respect the private property along CR 113.  Some bikers have been intentionally riding through residents’ front yards.  This behavior results in tarnishing the reputation of all mountain bikers, further increasing the risk of losing access to the area.

Snow on north-facing slopes, photo taken of the Nambe Badlands east of NM 503, February 11, 2024.

Recent irresponsible mountain biking is causing significant damage and a new erosion channel in the Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern.  It is behavior like this that will help get the area closed to all mountain biking.  Please stay on the trail, do not ride in the mud, and do not ruin it for everyone!  Photo taken 12/28/2023.

Irresponsible and destructive mountain biking leaving permanent scars in the delicate soil crusts in the protected Sombrillo Area of Critical Environmental Concern.  Please ride responsibly.  Behavior like this will help close the area to bikes!  The photo was taken on 12/30/2023.

Hikers have recently caused off-trail damage by (1) hiking when it is way too muddy, and (2) walking off the trail as in this photo.  Photo taken February 1, 2024.  If you are leaving tracks in the mud, go back.

Damage to cryptobiotic soil in the Sombrillo ACEC from a motorcycle intentionally riding on these delicate biotic soil crusts.  This photo was taken on February 13, 2023, with Taos BLM Office employees on a trail damage assessment ride.

At the top of climbs and vista lookouts, some mountain bikers and hikers are trouncing around in circles, destroying large areas of sensitive soil and vegetation.  Please stay on the trail and avoid damaging the delicate soil crusts.   Sombrill Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Photo taken 1/1/2024.

Trail Etiquette

  1. Uphill users have the right of way.
    • If you are descending a slope or a trail, step off to the side for folks coming up the trail. It’s usually easier for the person descending to stop rather than making the person heading uphill stop and regain momentum to start up again.  Be cautious when you step off the trail so as not to damage the fragile biotic soil crusts in the Sombrillo ACEC.
  2. If you are a solo hiker or biker, move to the side for groups to pass.
    • It’s much easier for a single person to step to the side than to make an entire group move off the trail.
    • Make sure to step off to the right and pass on the left.
    • Please do not ride your bike in circles off the side of the trail when you let people pass.  Please step off your bike and minimize erosion and damage to the fragile soils.
    • Be cautious when you step off the trail so as not to damage the fragile biotic soil crusts in the Sombrillo ACEC.
  3. Bikers always yield to hikers, and both bikers and hikers always yield to horses.
    • If you are on a bike, you yield to everyone else; it doesn’t matter if you are going uphill or downhill.
    • Please do not ride your bike in circles off the side of the trail when you let people pass.  Please step off your bike and minimize erosion and damage to the fragile soils.
  4. Don’t blast music or make loud phone calls.
    • If you need to listen to music or make a call, don’t have the volume up for other trail users to hear.
    • If you decide to wear headphones, wear one earbud so you can hear people behind if they need to pass.
  5. If you need to go to the bathroom and there aren’t any other options, go at least 200’ from a trail or water source.
  6. Make sure to be kind to other trail users. After all, many people go outside to find peace and release energy. There is no need to be angry and aggressive toward other recreationists. Be nice to everyone and say hi!
  7. Keep your dog under control, meaning in your sight, and be able to respond to your voice commands quickly.  Clean up your dog poop, and do not leave poop bags on the side of the trail. Take them home with you.
  8. Follow all Leave No Trace principles.
  9. Be a responsible mountain biker so we can all enjoy sweet single-track trails.

Please provide any useful comments on trail conditions below

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