Corrales Bosque - Albuquerque, New Mexico - Dying Cottonwoods and Bike Trails

Along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico, the marshy banks are frequently lined with stands of native cottonwood. These tracts are called bosque, the Spanish word for woods. Near the intersection of Alameda Boulevard and Corrales Road in Albuquerque, is one such area called the Corrales Bosque.

This bosque has long been enjoyed by hikers, dog walkers, horseback riders, and bird watchers. It has been home to migrating ducks and geese, host to tamarisk and Russian olive, and a preserve of native wild flowers. Longtime residents think of it as a narrow strip of greenery snaking through the desert and a sanctuary from the surrounding world of asphalt, steel and glass.

However, the deciduous cottonwood trees in Corrales Bosque are dying. Some sections have been bull-dozed to remove the dry brush, felled branches, and deadwood that pose a fire hazard. New trees are needed to replace the passing generation, but attempts have failed. Planted seedlings are not surviving. The future of Corrales Bosque is in question.

In the meantime, mountain bikers have discovered its stretches of barren dirt. They rave about the winding paths and side trails. The main route that passes through Corrales Bosque is a 15-mile loop, graded as intermediate for off-road cycling - which may soon be the only form of recreation remaining here.

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