- Compliance ensures long-term use
Trails on Los Alamos National Laboratory property in White Rock, between Pajarito Acres and Bandelier National Monument in Technical Areas 70 and 71 are being rerouted to protect sensitive resources.
Trail user should expect to see signs that indicate new routes and trail use requirements.
Unlike other Department of Energy (DOE) sites, LANL allows backcountry use by hikers and equestrians but the privilege comes with requirements, primarily that resources such as plants, animals and culturally significant areas must be protected.
“Environmental stewardship is integral to carrying out the Laboratory’s mission in a sustainable way, so it is important that natural and cultural resources are protected,” Trails Working Group Chair Dan Pava said. “We are required to assure compliance with federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, the Antiquities Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.”
As part of this effort, the NNSA Field Office and Los Alamos staffs are working with the National Park Service to increase patrols in these areas by Bandelier National Monument rangers.
“The Laboratory is in the process of improving major trailheads along N.M. 4 with gates and signs to explain trail user responsibilities and provide other helpful information,” Pava said. “Some trails are being rerouted or closed to protect cultural resources. Trail users’ continued access to the area is contingent upon their respect of designated reroutes and closures.”
In December 2003, the Trails Assessment Working Group was established to inventory, map and prepare historical reports on Laboratory trails on the Pajarito Plateau.
In addition to representatives from the Laboratory, the group consists of local hiking and equestrian groups, Los Alamos County, the Forest Service, the Park Service, nearby pueblos and NNSA’s Los Alamos Field Office.