SFNF Recreation Specialist Jennifer Sublett presents Partnership Award to Clay Moseley. Courtesy photo
SANTA FE ― It has been 30 years since David Platts first “adopted” the trail to Canada Bonita with the intent to create a first-rate Nordic course for the Junior Nordic Team in Los Alamos.
That was the beginning of a long and successful partnership between the Southwest Nordic Ski Club and the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF).
In honor of their 30-year collaboration, the SFNF recently presented the Southwest Nordic Ski Club with a Partnership Award and recognized Club President Clay Moseley for his outstanding leadership over the past 13 years. Moseley also was recognized for putting in the most volunteer hours to keep the course open and groomed. Although the Junior Nordic Team, which started in 1975 under the expert coaching of Tom Berg, is no longer active, the Ski Club has continued to provide a free quality Nordic course for public use.
Moseley came to Los Alamos in 1999 and breathed new life into the club as it moved into the next century. After the 2011 Las Conchas Fire and its aftermath destroyed a third of the course, Moseley and club members rose to the challenge of keeping the trails open and functional.
“Few people realize the enormous amount of work it has taken to keep the Nordic trails functional since Las Conchas,” said Española District Recreation Program Manager Lynn Bjorklund. “If it weren’t for the dedicated work of Clay and other club members, those trails would be completely erased under a pile of downed trees and eroded soil. The club clears out literally hundreds of fire-damaged trees that fall each year. They also take on encroaching aspens, locusts and the severe erosion that threaten to wipe out the trails.”
Under the challenge cost share agreement between the Southwest Nordic Ski Club and the Forest Service, the club was able to use $100,000 of fire rehabilitation funding to restore fire-damaged trails across Los Alamos County.
With a 50 percent match in volunteer labor, that funding accomplished an enormous amount of work, including restoration of the Canyon de Valle, Guaje Canyon, the Mitchell and Nail Trails, completion of the Pajarito Trail to the top of Pajarito Mountain, three new sections of Guaje Ridge Trail, additional fencing and screening for the Nordic Trails, and hazard tree felling and clearing on all of the severely burned trails throughout the county. The Southwest Nordic Ski Club helped organize and record more than 2,200 hours of volunteer work to meet the match.
The Posse Shack event in honor of the partnership featured a look at the past with photos from the first Junior Team, the first grooming equipment, hand-drawn maps and hand-written documents and letters from the pre-email era. Many of the young Nordic skiers in the old photos are now leaders in the Ski Club and the community.
Moseley, his wife Dina Pesenson and club member Sanna Sevanto also received special recognition for their work with the Los Alamos “Fit Kids,” a Wednesday evening program that teaches basic skiing skills and other athletic skills to children in a fun and supportive environment.
On behalf of the SFNF, Forest Supervisor James Melonas thanked the Southwest Nordic Ski Club, its many volunteers and the community for “their dedicated efforts in caring for the land and working together to preserve the public lands we are all privileged to experience”.
Los Alamos Fit Kids with Dina Pesenson, Clay Moseley and Sanna Savanto in back row. Courtesy photo