Since the late Gerry Thompson set the Gila Chapter in motion
in 2001, we have taken care of trails throughout Catron, Grant,
Hidalgo, and Sierra counties. We installed easy-to-open gates in
the Fort Bayard Wildlife Refuge and in the Black Range of the Gila
National Forest to replace those floppy barbed wire gates. We have
built and maintained sections of the Continental Divide Trail. Every
year we clear trails throughout the Gila National Forest and the
wilderness of the Blue Range, Gila, and the Aldo Leopold areas.
The Gila region experiences frequent wildfires, so we start cleaning
up the burn scars as soon as safety, time, and weather permit.
That work continues for years as the trees fall across our trails, but gives us the opportunity to watch the forests regenerate.
We pack in to the wilderness at least once a year to work on trails along the ridges and streams of quiet sanctuaries like Little Creek, Skates Canyon, Allie Canyon, Meadow Creek, Woodland Park. We use US Forest Service facilities such as Woody's Corral and the Upper Gallinas Campground as our base of operations. We string high lines (with tree savers, of course) and pitch tents out on the trail. We gather under a big tarp to shelter from monsoon deluges and warm our chilly feet with a campfire and laughter. When we break camp, we scatter the manure, pack up our trash, rake over our footprints, and drown the campfire thoroughly; the only trace we leave are the ends of freshly cut logs that blocked the trail before we arrived.
Gila Chapter members enjoy impromptu pleasure rides to explore our spectacular trails (and assess the need for trail work). Many of our trails are a short trailer haul from Silver City, but our region also covers more distant territory--up the twisty highway to the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the three forks of the Gila River; the far-flung forests of Catron County, the sunny southern reaches of the Continental Divide Trail.
Our jolly business meetings (held on the second Wednesday of every month) usually feature an educational speaker and time to network to find buddies for riding, camping, and hiking. We share trail condition information. We enjoy potluck picnics and Christmas dinners. Our trail-clearing projects offer the company and friendship of others with common aims. We tell jokes and laugh a lot. We learn. Best of all, we ride in this magnificent terrain and we complete hard, but rewarding work.
We keep the back country trails open for riding, pack stock, hikers, and cyclists. We discuss wilderness safety and survival. We are always mindful of our impact on the forest and we adhere to the Leave No Trace principles.
We are members of a worthwhile organization. Won't you join us?