ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city’s plan to spruce up the Bosque was met with a lot of opposition from people who say it should be left the way it is. However a new city-commissioned study shows that at least part of the plan actually won’t do much more damage than people have already done.
The study has been a year in the making and could be a big catalyst toward finally breaking ground on building an improved trail, better signage and more parking along the river.
“I think what the report shows is that what we were talking about from the very beginning is nothing that would hurt or harm the beautiful natural resource that we call the Bosque,” said Gilbert Montaño, Chief of Staff for Mayor R.J. Berry.
Montaño is speaking about the report titled, “Rio Grande Valley State Park, Central to Montaño Project: Environmental Monitoring Plan and Baseline Data Report,” which was just published by a private consulting firm called SWCA Environmental Consultants.
For the last year, the firm has studied an area on the eastside of the Rio Grande that’s just north of Central and Tingley where the mayor wants to begin building an improved walking trail that would stretch for more than a mile.
In the conclusion of the report, the consulting firm writes, “the proposed project is not anticipated to have a significant negative environmental impact on the area.” The firm says that’s because of the “already disturbed condition” of the Bosque area. Many people have been walking through and making their own paths through the Bosque for years.
While Mayor R.J. Berry’s Office says there’s not even a final design for the new path yet, they say the study proves that the changes they have in mind won’t be detrimental.
Many people have had problems with the plan over the years saying the plan could interrupt nature or change the characteristics of the Bosque.
Richard Barrish is the Bosque Issues Chair for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. Barrish told News 13 on Friday that he had not had a chance to read the study at the time of interview.
In response to the quote in the report about the proposed project not being anticipated to have “a significant negative environment impact,” Barrish said the quote shouldn’t be mistaken as anyone definitively proving that the Bosque is “not a very valuable eco-system.”
Barrish believes the city should still be very cautious about any development.
“While it is true that it is highly altered, I don’t think we should use it as an excuse to go in there and do whatever it is that we want to do, it still is a great place to enjoy nature and we want to accentuate that and improve that,” said Barrish.
Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department is still taking public comment on the new report through the end of November.
Mayor R.J. Berry’s office says they would like to see action on the pathway in the next year.
So far, the city has about $2.9 million set aside to build the path.
When trail upgrades were first considered, there was a lot of talk about a visioning document that showed plans and renderings for a possible restaurant or even shops in the Bosque. Chief of Staff Gilbert Montaño told News 13 on Friday that there are no current plans to move forward with any of those ideas at this point.