The guys at Matador Network know a good thing when they see it. We see it all the time—and you can, too!
Just one of the many reasons why we love this corner or New Mexico!
IDA is pleased to announce the designation of the Cosmic Campground as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. It is the first such designation in the U.S., and the first IDA International Dark Sky Place designation of a U.S. Forest Service location.
“We are very excited to announce the inaugural designation of an IDA Dark Sky Place on Forest Service land, and hope to strengthen our ties with this important public land management agency,” said IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend.
International Dark Sky Sanctuaries are public or private lands possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights. Their dark nighttime conditions are specifically protected for their scientific, natural, educational or cultural value, and are often located in some of the most remote and undeveloped parts of the world. Sanctuary designations are made by IDA to increase awareness of these fragile sites and promote their long-term conservation.
The new International Dark Sky Sanctuary is a 3.5 acre (1.42 hectare) site in the Gila National Forest of western New Mexico, U.S. Located between the Gila Wilderness and the Blue Range Primitive Area, the Cosmic Campground is situated in an exceptionally dark part of the lower 48 U.S. states. It features a basic infrastructure to support campers and offers a 360-degree, unobstructed view night sky.
The nearest significant source of electric light to the site is more than 40 miles (65 km) away and across the border of neighboring Arizona. Coupled with ready accessibility by road and typically clear, dry weather conditions at moderate altitude, the Campground could become a new mecca for amateur astronomers and casual stargazers seeking a one-of-a-kind experience under the stars.
“The Cosmic Campground, a peaceful, natural night sky place is ideal as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico, the United States, and the Earth,” explained Ann Grauer of Friends of the Cosmic Campground. “We are honored to help preserve and protect this small, dark place for present and future generations to connect with their inherent fascination and attraction to our night sky.”
There is no permanent, artificial lighting installed at the Cosmic Campground, and the Forest Service’s plans do not call for any such lighting in the future. Rather, the Campground is to be maintained in a state that allows visitors to experience nighttime conditions close to those before the introduction of electric lighting in the late nineteenth century. At the same time, visitors can access modern conveniences, such as wi-fi network connectivity via a cell tower located 15 miles to the south of the Cosmic Campground.
Officials see the potential for the Cosmic Campground’s new IDA status to yield a positive economic benefit for western New Mexico. Tourists who come for the extremely remote character of the nearby Gila Wilderness may well find that the Campground extends the sense of the area’s primitive quality past sunset.
Preservation and protection of this International Dark Sky Sanctuary will provide a place to gaze in wonder at the vast expanse of a natural night sky. People from around the world willdiscover how truly accessible its natural night sky is to visitors from everywhere. Children will discover their night vision allows them to “see” in the dark. Astronomers will come to experience and, possibly, photograph the incredible night sky. Families will visit the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary and explore the trails, rivers, and mountains of the Gila National Forest as well. The area economy will benefit from the “take only photos/leave only footprints” of these visitors. Visitors will share memories and bring others to see for themselves.
“The Cosmic Campground in Catron County brings visitors from around the United States and the world to enjoy New Mexico’s unmatched wild places,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. “Outdoor recreation is a huge draw for the state and contributes to our economy as a whole. I was glad to support the Cosmic Campground’s effort in becoming an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, and I am pleased with their success. This designation will elevate the status of western New Mexico as a true destination for star gazers and dark sky enthusiasts all while boosting the economies of local communities.”
New Mexico Magazine’s Ashley Biggers has put together a stellar list of hikes in the Land of Enchantment for every level of hiker that all have one thing in common: they’ll all have you coming back for more.
“Hiking is New Mexico’s favorite pastime. And no wonder: The call of the trail is easy to answer in a state that ranks sixth in the country for public lands, and where uncrowded tracks lie within minutes of even the largest cities. The terrain varies, climbing from high desert to alpine, sometimes in one hike. In the descriptions that follow, “easy” trails are generally in good condition, with little elevation gain. “Moderate” trails require a bit more fitness for longer distances and more elevation gain, and “strenuous” ones may require good conditioning and cover significant mileage and elevation changes. Consult the information resources provided for detailed directions and updates on trail, weather, and other variable conditions. (Read more…)”
Every region in New Mexico has its special wild spots, where you can hike, gaze at the stars, learn about dinosaurs and ancient Native culture, play in a lake and connect with the unmatched wonder of the natural world. Starting at the Northwest and traveling clockwise across the state, here are some favorites among the 35 state parks and 14 national monuments.
The Bluewater Lake State Park, located 25 miles west of Grants, is set in a pinon-juniper landscape with views towards the Zuni Mountains. The park offers camping, hiking, birding, horseback riding and some of the best tiger muskie fishing in the state. Those who want quiet will camp on the canyon side, and those wanting to socialize will be lakeside.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park was home to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., and the ruins of the highly complex, massive cities they built are one of the wonders of the American Southwest. Guided tours, hiking and biking trails, evening campfire talks and night sky programs make this a must-do experience.
Aztec Ruins National Monument is home to spectacular architectural remains of ancestral Pueblo people, including a 400-room Great House and the only reconstructed Great Kiva in the world.
El Malpais National Monument is an eerie and beautiful landscape of black basalt formations, considered one of the best continuous geologic records of volcanic activity on the planet, and makes for memorable hiking and photography.
El Morro National Monument, a sandstone bluff where ancestral Puebloans, Spanish and American travelers carved their signatures, dates, messages and designs over thousands of years, includes hiking trails, a visitor center and small Puebloan ruin.
Heron is a “quiet lake” where boats operate at no-wake speed and is ideal for sailing and windsurfing. El Vado offers boating, water skiing, lots of coves for fishing and lakeside playground. Both lakes have a variety of campsites, from primitive to fully developed.
Rio Chama Trail, a hiking and fishing trail along the river, connects the two lakes by suspension bridge. Bandelier National Monument preserves the remains of buildings constructed by ancestral Puebloans who first settled here more than 11,000 years ago. The easy trails allow walkers to explore dwellings and petroglyphs carved into the sandstone cliffs, masonry pueblos below the cliffs and miles of wilderness. An extensive visitor center and picnic area.
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument near Taos is more than 240,000 acres of wilderness cut through by the Rio Grande Gorge, with some of the best whitewater boating in the state. The area also has campgrounds, excellent fishing and wildlife viewing, trails and visitor centers.
Enjoy boating, picnicking, camping, fishing and hiking in the rolling grasslands about 12 miles northwest of Clayton at the Clayton Lake State Park, where you can explore one of the most extensive dinosaur trackways in North America and get a close-up look at the stars at the Lake Observatory. The park has an RV site, tent camping, boat ramp and picnic sites. It is stocked with trout, catfish and bass, and hosts an annual Clayton Lake Trout Derby each June.
Fort Union National Monument played a significant role in the Civil War and today interpretive talks, guided tours and living history programs make a visit here entertaining and educational. Capulin Volcano National Monument offers hiking trails around the rim and into the mouth of this extinct cinder cone volcano.
Pecos National Historical Park, just outside of Santa Fe, has a complete visitor center, picnic table and a self-guided trail to explore the ruins of Pecos Pueblo and its mission church.
The Bottomless Lakes State Park is located 14 miles southeast of Roswell along the Pecos River, offering non-motorized boating, camping, fishing, birding and scuba diving along with a visitor center and shaded picnic shelters. This became New Mexico’s first state park in 1933. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a labyrinth of 119 caves that ranks as one of the state’s must-do experiences. Self-guided walks, guided tours, backcountry hikes, birding at Rattlesnake Springs, nature trail hikes and camping are all available.
White Sands National Monument extends throughout the Southeast and Southwest regions, with 275 square miles of glittering white dunes of gypsum sand – the largest in the world. Photo buffs are in heaven here, as are those who like to surf or sled the dunes, picnic and watch the sun and moon rise in this otherworldly landscape.
New Mexico’s largest state park surrounds Elephant Butte Reservoir, the state’s largest reservoir and largest body of water. The Elephant Butte Dam, which celebrates its 100th birthday this coming October, was a major engineering feat in its day. The lake has three developed camps with more than 200 camping and picnic spots, concession-operated marinas, stores, sandy beaches, playgrounds, RV sites and a fine visitor center. Kayaks, jet skis, pontoons, sailboats, ski boats, cruisers, and houseboats are in play all summer, and the fishing is superb, with record-breaking black, white and striped bass, crappie and bluegill.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Surrounded by the Gila National Forest, this lies within the Gila Wilderness, the nation’s first wilderness area. Cliff dwellings here inside natural caves were first occupied sometime in the 1280s, and the remains are accessible by guided tour. There is also a small museum and visitor center.
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is the newest national monument, with miles of hiking, horseback and mountain biking trails, campgrounds and picnic sites with shelters and shade trees, a visitor center and spectacular views from Picacho Peak.
Prehistoric Trackways National Monument just north of Las Cruces, contains fossilized trackways with the footprints of hundreds of amphibians and reptiles that predate the dinosaurs, as well as plants and petrified wood as old as 280 million years.
Right in the middle of Albuquerque, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is a peaceful nature retreat with easy walking trails, bike paths and a nature center/visitor center that offers education programs, gardens and a gift shop. There are indoor and outdoor wildlife viewing areas, trail access to the Rio Grande, picnic spots and a window into how nature – including families of porcupines, roadrunners, turtles, ground squirrels and many types of waterfowl – can flourish in the middle of an urban environment.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, with spectacular hiking in the cone-shaped rock formations formed by volcanic eruptions 6-7 million years ago. Petroglyph National Monument, a treasure house of more than 20,000 Native American and Colonial Spanish rock carvings, miles of hiking, five volcanic cones and a visitor center – all within the Albuquerque city limits.
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument gives visitors the opportunity to explore three ancient ruins dating from the early 17th Century. Valles Caldera National Preserve, site of a “super volcano” that left a 13.7-mile wide crater in the Jemez Mountains. Hot springs, streams and herds of wild elk can be seen along the miles of trails.
To find the details on these and all New Mexico State Parks, National Monuments, National Parks and National Historical Parks, as well as complete information on outdoors adventures and lodging, dining and attractions in each area, visit Closer to Wild at www.NewMexico.org.
“Silversmith” aims to bring attention to Santa Fe’s impressive market season
SANTA FE, N.M. – Santa Fe is known for many things, with history, art and culture often topping that list. At no time are those three interests more intricately woven than during “market season,” the busy summer months that play host to more than a dozen art markets in the City Different’s historic center. Now, New Mexico has a new way to celebrate market season, while bringing attention to the handcrafted detail that goes into each piece created and displayed during these uniquely New Mexican events.
“Silversmith” features Navajo artist Roland Brady, who creates intricately handmade art and jewelry in his northwestern New Mexico home near Shiprock. His mother taught him to work with silver, melting down old coins and silver scrap and hammering the metal into something beautiful. Now, five decades in, Brady produces intricate and soulful pieces inspired from the landscape that he calls home. View “Silversmith” here.
Artists like Brady are drawn to Santa Fe each summer to showcase their handmade pieces and works of art, which, in turn, attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world.
“As consumers our values are changing, and we have a deep desire to know more about the food we eat, the experiences we have, and the art we buy,” said Rebecca Latham, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Tourism Department. “Markets allow consumers to have a deeper connection to what they’re purchasing, and also allow visitors to take a tangible memory of New Mexico home with them. ”
Fine arts and crafts will be on display many weekends throughout the summer, with the most widely known events being the International Folk Art Market (July 8-10), Traditional Spanish Market and Contemporary Spanish Market (July 30-31), and the SWAIA (Southwestern Association for Indian Arts) Indian Market (August 20-21).
“New Mexico is consistently seen as a top destination for people who appreciate handmade art,” said Latham. “Art markets drive visitors here from all over the world, and bring a significant economic impact to the state’s economy. These beautiful works of art are serious business for New Mexico, and the department is using this video to show a deeper look behind one artist to make people think about the bigger picture of art in New Mexico.”
“Silversmith” is the tenth video in the “New Mexico True Stories” series. Others in the series include “Aunt June,” which features a 91-year old Hatch native sharing her family’s history in the chile business; “The Visionary,” the story of a Native American veteran who returned from Vietnam without sight but the ability to create beautiful works of art from memory; and the recently-released “Cured Earth,” which tells the story of New Mexico’s unique adobe architecture and our relationship with mud.
To learn more about market season and other art and shopping in New Mexico, visithttp://www.newmexico.org/truetreasures.
TAOS SKI VALLEY, N.M., — This 2014-2015 winter season, Taos Ski Valley will open Kachina Peak to lift-accessed skiing and snowboarding as well as several additional new enhancements, including new hike-to terrain.
“Kachina Peak offers some of the most spectacular views and terrain in North America,” said Gordon Briner, CEO of Taos Ski Valley. “The new Kachina Peak lift provides the opportunity for everyone to enjoy this iconic terrain and have one of the most unique experiences in winter recreation. In addition, since Kachina Peak captures snow early in the season and holds it well into spring, we’re excited that the area that holds the most snow on the mountain is now lift-served.”
With a summit of 12,450 feet, the Kachina Peak lift is one of the highest chairlifts in North America and increases the mountain’s lift-serviced terrain by 50 percent, further establishing Taos Ski Valley as a premier ski resort. From the top of Kachina, guests can enjoy the unforgettable vistas of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, and will have access to a broad range of terrain, from the wide open bowls of Main Street, to the narrow and steep lines of the K Chutes.
Those who enjoy the valley’s legendary hike-to terrain can still earn their turns, as the majority of Highline Ridge and West Basin will remain accessible by foot only. In addition to preserving the existing hike-to terrain,Taos Ski Valley is adding new hike-to terrain this season with the opening of The Wild West Glades. Accessible via the West Basin Ridge, The Wild West Glades will consist of 35 acres of some of the best tree skiing in the country.
New Season Pass, Ski School Perks
Taos Ski Valley’s season pass, has always been one of the best values in skiing, and it just got even better. The popular Millennium Pass (good for 70 days), the unlimited Adult Full Season Pass, and the Family Full Pass, will each include exchange days at Copper Mountain, Durango Mountain Resort, Crested Butte, Arapahoe Basin, Powder Mountain and new this year, Silverton Mountain. Taos Ski Valley will also continue to offer discounted season and day passes to active military, college students, seniors and children.
Taos Ski Valley’s famed Ernie Blake Snowsports School also will be unveiling the new Mountain Guide program, which connects guests with the valley’s top ambassadors who will show them the best spots to ski or ride on a given day, take them to off-the-map runs, and share some of the ski area’s local lore and history.
For those looking to take their skiing or snowboarding up a notch, the Snowsports Week is an incredible value at just $130. Running every Sunday-Friday throughout the season, guests receive personal attention from top instructors for two hours each morning.
Additional new developments
Taos Ski Valley has also upgraded its snowmaking system with two energy-efficient compressors. The upgrades will be part of helping Taos Ski Valley be prepared to open Thanksgiving weekend, as well as provide skiing from the top of the mountain as soon as possible.
Finally, guests will enjoy a new drop-off area that features views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and a walkway with stores and services that line the path to the base area and lifts. These improvements are the first stages of the renovation of the base area.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this upcoming snow season,” said Briner. “We are making positive changes while simultaneously preserving what makes Taos Ski Valley so extraordinary. Our commitment to delivering a world-class experience is stronger than ever.”
For more information about the 2014-2015 winter activities at Taos Ski Valley, go to www.skitaos.org.
About Taos Ski Valley
Located in northern New Mexico, Taos is one of North America’s premier ski and snowboard destinations, with more than 305 inches of average annual snowfall and more than 110 trails. Taos has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, spectacular scenery, and amazing terrain, truly make it a world of its own.
To learn more about Taos Ski Valley or to plan a vacation, please visit www.skitaos.org.
Last year, the New Mexico National Guard’s 44th Army Band performed a special Fourth of July concert at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial in Albuquerque. The band played traditional ceremonial music as well as performances by the saxophone quartet and the brass quintet. In addition, the first ever Military Mariachi Band performed for the audience.
The United Veteran’s Council is pleased to announce that the 44th Army Band will again present a Fourth of July concert at the Memorial. The concert will be in the Memorial Amphitheater and will begin at 5:00 PM and last for approximately one hour. We suggest you arrive early to facilitate parking. Also, you are advised to bring chair pads, lawn chairs, or blankets for your personal comfort during the concert.
For this special event, the Memorial Visitor Center will be open and visitors are welcome to view the displays therein.
The New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial is located at 1100 SE Louisiana Blvd. SE. For additional information about the Memorial and this event, please go towww.nmvetsmemorial.org and access the events calendar or call the Memorial office, 505-256-2042.
– Construction completed one year ahead of schedule
– 3,000 jobs created during build phase
– Economic impact to New Mexico exceeded $500 million
Union Pacific Chairman and CEO Jack Koraleski joined New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez in a grand-opening ceremony celebrating the newest facility on the railroad’s 23-state network. The 2,200 acre site, which officially opened April 1, will create value for Union Pacific customers and produce greater logistics efficiencies along Union Pacific’s critical Sunset Route, the rail line running 760 miles from El Paso, Texas, to Los Angeles.
Located just west of the Santa Teresa Airport, Union Pacific’s Santa Teresa rail facility includes a fueling station, crew change buildings, and an intermodal ramp with an annual lift capacity of around 225,000 containers. The southern region of New Mexico is now a strategic focal point where shippers can leverage the economic and environmental benefits of shipping freight by rail.
“Our new rail facility in New Mexico is a key part of our relentless effort to create value for our customers through safety, service and efficiency,” Koraleski said. “Union Pacific’s $400 million investment in New Mexicowill improve the fluidity and efficiency of the Union Pacific network and will have a positive long-term economic impact in the region.”
Facility construction created 3,000 jobs during the build phase from 2011 to 2014. The site will be home to 300-600 permanent jobs once the facility reaches full capacity. The project’s estimated overall economic impact to New Mexico exceeds $500 million, with Union Pacific’s investment highlighting the company’s commitment to enhancing the nation’s transportation infrastructure and setting the standard for outstanding customer service.
Union Pacific is planning to invest approximately $4.1 billion in 2014 – capital investment that is part of a long-term strategy to provide safe, efficient service across its 32,000 mile network.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP). One of America’s most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. From 2004-2013, Union Pacific invested approximately $30 billion in its network and operations to support America’s transportation infrastructure. The railroad’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Coal, Industrial Products and Intermodal. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.