County Commission will vote on contract for new section of Animas River trail

Planned Lower Animas Trail would extend approximately 8 miles

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The effort to create a 17-mile string of river trails from the west side of Farmington to Aztec Ruins National Monument could get a boost early next week when the San Juan County Commission meets to consider awarding a contract to a Farmington firm for work on the county's link in the trails network.

Commissioners will vote on a proposal to award a $500,000 contract to the Farmington office of Souder, Miller & Associates for planning, surveying and engineering services for the creation of an approximate 8-mile stretch of new nonmotorized trail near the Animas River.

The new trail would begin at the east side of the Farmington city limits near Pinon Hills Boulevard and run east to Hartman Park in Aztec, which is located south of the river and just southeast of Riverside Park.

According to county documents, the so-called Lower Animas Trail would be 8 to 10 feet wide and would follow the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad right of way. It would traverse residential neighborhoods, open agricultural areas and the river corridor, the documents state.

The trail may feature such amenities as interpretative signage, exercise stations, pedestrian pavilions and picnic areas, according to the documents.

The cost of the contract will be partially covered by a $250,000 grant the county received in June from the Outdoor Recreation Division of the New Mexico Economic Development Department for the project through that agency's Trails + program.

The planned Lower Animas Trail would run across land in unincorporated areas of San Juan County between Farmington and Aztec along a former railroad right of way.

According to a news release, that program is designed to expand access to the outdoors and grow the outdoor industry throughout New Mexico. County officials applied for the grant in April.

County spokesman Devin Neeley said the surveying, planning and engineering work is expected to take approximately two years.

Government officials throughout the county long have hoped to construct a network of trails that extends throughout Aztec, Farmington and the unincorporated part of San Juan County that runs between them.

The commission meeting will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 in the County Administration Building, 100 S. Oliver Drive in Aztec. Approval of the contract is on the commission's consent agenda.

During that meeting, commissioners also will hear from San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari, who will deliver a presentation on recruiting, hiring and retention efforts for deputies and other Sheriff's Office employees.

They also will enter into a closed session to discuss the Navajo Nation's redistricting lawsuit against the county.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the county's YouTube channel.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription: