FARMINGTON — The River Reach Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from a Public Service Company of New Mexico foundation to extend trails along the Animas River in Farmington.
The foundation has been working with the city of Farmington's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department to enhance and link the trail system.
"It's a quality of life issue," said Bob Lehmer, a retired orthopedic surgeon who has served on the foundation's board since its beginning in 1986. "We want to create an amenity for the community which is rare to most communities in the Southwest."
Lehmer note that two major rivers, the San Juan and Animas, and a minor river, the La Plata, meet in Farmington.
"We need to make this most unique asset into something that will create a great benefit for this city," he said.
The PNM Resources Foundation gave the grant as part of $300,000 in environmental awards donated to groups in New Mexico and Texas. PNM is the operator and largest stakeholder of San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant west of Farmington.
"These projects will have a lasting positive impact in local communities doing activities that restore and diversify habitats, create community gardens, and build walking trails," Diane Harrison Ogawa, executive director of the PNM Resources Foundation, said in a prepared statement. "These projects are important to PNM and to the local communities across our state."
The location of trail extensions has not been finalized. But the River Reach Foundation is eyeing one location along the Animas from Middle Fork Square to the planned site of a bridge crossing. Another is on the south side of the Animas near the new building for People Assisting the Homeless.
The $10,000 grant will go to pay for road base of a segment of trail that will be called the Sandstone Canyon River Trail, said River Reach board member Jill McQueary.
The River Reach Foundation is working with property owners near the envisioned trail.
"We're in the process of trying to formalize some easements along that area from a couple of property areas," Lehmer said.
A workshop to discuss a possible trails master plan with the city of Farmington is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Farmington Civic Center.
"The dream is one day all of these trails will be connected," McQueary said.