FARMINGTON — Three years ago, the City of Farmington and the River Reach Foundation began construction of the Among the Waters Trail near San Juan Regional Medical Center.
On Friday, the city celebrated the official opening of the trail with a ribbon cutting.
The trail's name is a nod to the Navajo word for Farmington, totah, which translates to "among the waters." The trail, which stretches just more than a mile, cost about $75,000 to build. It is the most recent expansion of the Farmington trail system, which the city hopes will eventually stretch from the Westland Park area to Piñon Hills Boulevard.
"This is another example of us preserving a great natural resource that we have in the community," said Cory Styron, the director of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department.
The city began working on the trail system 28 years ago, and, now, it has more than six miles of trail along the rivers, Mayor Tommy Roberts said.
As he travels the state, Roberts said he is surprised at how many people know about Farmington's trail system, and he is proud of the reputation it gives the city.
"The citizens of Farmington are givers," Roberts said. "They're volunteers. They make things happen, and we should be proud of that."
In addition to the city and the River Reach Foundation, San Juan Regional Medical Center and BHP Billiton funded the creation of the trail.
"We want to promote health in the community, and what better way than to support a project like this?" said Roberta Rogers, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
The trail has been finished for a couple of years, but the River Reach Foundation waited to open it in hopes of being able to first connect it to Boyd Park, said Robert Lehmer, a member of River Reach.
When the foundation was unable to acquire the necessary land to join the trails, the members decided to dedicate the existing trail.
Jim Luther, the foundation's president, said the group chose Friday for the dedication because Tuesday was Earth Day and Friday was Arbor Day.
"We are the only community in the Southwest to have three rivers going through it," Lehmer said.
People walking the Among the Waters trail can see two of these three rivers.
"If you walk upstream just a little ways, you get to the wedding of the waters," Luther said.
At that spot, Luther said, the Animas River flows into the San Juan River.
Luther also said the trail is important because of the wildlife in the area.
"It's a unique microhabitat," he said. "A country habitat in the city."
Luther said he frequently walks the trail and sees bald eagles, herons and other wildlife.
"I am excited to share the beauty of this river with my neighbors," Luther said.