59 % of Bernalillo residents need extra out of doors recreation; Strolling paths being thought of


BERNALILLO — As the demand for outdoor recreation continues to grow, Bernalillo officials want to accommodate residents in a way that makes sense for everyone.

A possible idea has surfaced – more hiking trails. The issue surfaced in the draft of the city’s comprehensive economic development plan.

“Anyone can use hiking trails. No age is required,” said Mike Kloeppel, director of economic and community development for Bernalillo.

Fifty-nine percent of residents in a recent poll said they would like Bernalillo to focus on expanding such recreational opportunities. Hiking trails are “low-hanging fruits” because they’re more practical, Kloeppel said.

“The city has land where we can actually build a trail,” he said.

However, there are still infrastructure factors to consider.

Where they cut through quarters, no hiking trails could be set up, said Kloeppel. The city also needs to make sure it has available land and that trails comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said.

“There are a lot of moving parts to make any of these things possible,” Kloeppel said.

Kloeppel said most of the transportation work along US 550 should be complete by August, which could help make more parts of the city more pedestrian-friendly for a little stroll.

Additionally, offering other activities, such as playing cornhole, would have a similar effect as including hiking trails, Kloeppel said.

“You can open that up to more people, and that’s all outdoor recreation,” he said. “By doing certain things, you can draw more people into the city for outdoor recreation.”

If the matter is approved by the Bernalillo City Council, Kloeppel said city officials would seek infrastructure grant money to add hiking trails. The timing of getting these projects off the ground would also depend on how high the priority would be within the funding cycle compared to something like road works.

“We’re trying to circumvent all of these in order to implement as much of this plan as possible,” Kloeppel said.