September 19, 2013
CONTACT: Andrea Serrano, OLÉ
(505) 688-1395

Letter from Aldo Leopold's Daughter Highlights Meeting on the Community's Vision for the Bosque

Albuquerque, NM -- On Wednesday evening, nearly 300 Albuquerque residents turned out for a community-sponsored meeting at the Albuquerque museum to tell Mayor Berry of their vision for a Bosque plan.  The City had previously planned a meeting for this date, but cancelled it after their plan received nearly unanimous criticism from hundreds of members of the public at a meeting on Sept. 4.

Speakers and audience members gave their ideas for a Bosque plan that protects and restores the nation's only riparian forest in an urban city.  Among others, the ideas included:

  • Improved parking, signage, maps, interpretive exhibits, design features, and amenities at gateway points so as to make the Bosque a more welcoming and safe place where Albuquerque residents can recreate and enjoy nature.
  • Helping young people to get to know and enjoy the Bosque by funding field trips to the area through APS, the Bosque Biological Monitoring Program and funding the Bosque Education Guide program.
  • Ensuring that birds and wildlife will be there for Albuquerque residents to enjoy by leaving the Bosque between the levees mostly undeveloped.
  • Include a robust restoration component, such as lowering riverbanks, terracing, swales, and back channels to reconnect the Bosque to the river, so that we will have a healthy, beautiful forest for future generations.
  • Improve the usability of the Paseo del Bosque trail for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other users by  creating a separate, parallel path for slower traffic, improving visibility, and removing potential hazards.

Albuquerque architect and board member of the Aldo Leopold Society Tony Anella presented a letter from Estella Leopold, the last surviving child of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold.  Leopold lived in Albuquerque for a time and was the first secretary of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce from 1918 to 1919.   Leopold advocated for the creation of a reserve along the Rio Grande.  Estella Leopold spoke of her family's deep connection to Albuquerque and their home on 14th Street, and she noted that "few American cities can boast a riverside stretch of cottonwood trees."  She spoke about affirming "the goal of having an extensive area of wild nature and bird habitat along the river bordering the city."

Anella himself said, “Any plan for the Bosque needs to be based on sound science and the science should come before the plan not after.  We have landscape architects designing as if the Bosque were an urban park.  The bosque is and should be a natural open space for all Albuquerqueans to enjoy.”

Richard Barish, Bosque Issues Chair of the Central New Mexico Group of the Sierra Club, stated: "We have been unjustly criticized for not presenting any ideas about what should be done in the Bosque.  We have a vision.  Our vision is that the Bosque should be a place Albuquerque families and residents can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and engage in healthy, outdoor activities.  We need to make the bosque a more welcoming place by improving parking and other access points in order to do this."

 “We need natural spaces where we can go to escape the noise and experience the natural world.  As a veteran, the Bosque has been essential to me.  It’s a place I can go to reflect and find peace,” said Alex Limkin.

Today, at 2pm, members of OLÉ, as well as the Bosque Action Team, a coalition of organizations and individuals, will meet at Civic Plaza to deliver letters collected at the community meeting to the mayor.