A group of kids and their parents in Albuquerque just won the "Most Significant Political Message" award in the city's recent South Valley Dia de los Muertos Parade. The youth used the parade to speak out against the Albuquerque mayor's plan to over develop the town's river zone. And those kids? They're from the Central Group of the Rio Grande Sierra Club Chapter and the Bosque Action Team.
Here's the back story: Albuquerque is one of the only cities in the United States to have maintained its riparian habitat intact in an urban setting. The area formally called the Rio Grande Valley State Park, is known by locals as "the Bosque," the Spanish word for forest.
The first advocate for the Bosque's protection was Aldo Leopold, who at the time was the first secretary of the the town's chamber of commerce. He said that:
"The average Albuquerquean man, woman, or child, is in need of a place within walking distance of the city where he can enjoy a breath of fresh air and a sight of a few trees, a few birds, and a little water...Just a good trail along the bank and clean woods."
Albuquerque will be the site of the 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Conference in October of 2014 - Leopold helped to establish the country's first Wilderness - the Gila.
But now Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry is pushing a concept for the Bosque that would widen and pack trails, among other developments that would turn this open space into an urban park. Citizens have rallied to protect the area, but so far their cries have fallen on deaf ears from the mayor.
Congrats to the young activists for getting some attention for such an important forest! We hope the mayor responds very soon.
Thanks to Rio Grande Chapter Director Camilla Feibelman for this information.