BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – For many, it’s a place to get away, to run, walk, bike and enjoy nature. Yet, one area of the Bosque has become more of a dumping ground than an escape.
“Isn’t this something? This is the Bosque.”
It’s the town of Bernalillo, just off Highway 550, Rio Rancho resident Rob Vitek walks his two dogs, Bolo and Freedom.
Yet, instead of the picturesque open space one would expect to find at the Bosque, Vitek says there are dozens of garbage bags worth of trash.
“You come in here and it’ll be like this all the time- trash,” Vitek said.
Vitek says he visits often but it’s been ages since he’s seen these trails free of litter.
He’s fed up.
“To see this is disturbing. It kind of gets to you after a while,” said Vitek.
Vitek says he’s hauled bags upon bags of trash out this area himself, including items that could be harmful to his two pups.
“I worry about glass and needles,” Vitek said.
“Have you found needles here?” asked KRQE News 13.
“Yes, I’ve found needles. I pick them up and dispose of them properly but they’re out here, yeah,” Vitek replied.
“Vitek says he’s called the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy district multiple times about the trash but, so far, nothing has changed.
Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s Tom Thorpe says they respond to complaints like Vitek’s, but tells us, they have a lot of other projects going on.
“It’s not always immediate,” Thorpe said.
KRQE News 13 led him to the worst spots along the trail.
He says it’s obvious the area has become a hang-out spot and a dumping ground.
“People want to have the fun but they don’t want to do the hard work of taking their stuff with them and getting rid of it,” said Thorpe.
Thorpe admits the throngs of garbage are unacceptable, not to mention, a safety issue.
“Any area that’s a public area and a recreation area, if you will. You know people hike through here and ride their bikes and their horses and things, it’s unsightly for them and they don’t want to see it and we don’t want to see it. We then have to turn around and spend taxpayer dollars coming in and cleaning it up,” Thorpe said.
Thorpe says they work with local law enforcement to try to keep people out after dark, but Thorpe says they’ll take care of the trash people leave behind.
“It’s on our land, it’s on our property and we’ll come clean it up,” said Thorpe.
Locals like Vitek just hope it’s sooner rather than later.
“It should be a place you can go to kind of get away from the rat race and you come in here and it’s like trashed and overcome with litter,” said Vitek. “It’s like, where do you go? This is supposed to be the place you go.”
We contacted police with the town of Bernalillo to find out how they patrol the area, but did not hear back.