National Forest Foundation

The Pecos Wilderness and a New Generation of Stewards

NFF Grant Partners and Projects


No matter how many times you visit the Pecos Wilderness, it always feels like there is more to see.

Nestled mostly within the Santa Fe National Forest – and partially within the Carson National Forest – this sprawling Wilderness encompasses more than 220,000 acres of lush forests, rugged ridges, and breathtaking, 360-degree views at its highest elevations.

Its vastness, beauty, and opportunities for legitimate solitude lure visitors back to the Pecos Wilderness again and again.

The Pecos’ popularity can be a double-edged sword. Oft-used hiking trails can wear under the boots of well-intentioned visitors. The primitive and minimally regulated nature of Wilderness means that poor trail conditions can sometimes go unnoticed by land managers.

At New Mexico Wild, we believe it is our duty to be good stewards of places like the Pecos Wilderness so future generations have the same opportunities to experience its vastness and beauty.

Over a six-month span in 2018, we recruited 128 volunteers who contributed 938 hours of stewardship service to this beloved outdoor recreation destination. The volunteers came from the local communities, a local Boy Scouts chapter, Montessori and high schools, and more to maintain and improve dozens of miles of trails within the Pecos Wilderness.

A trail sign prior to restoration.

The trail junction with new signage.

Our volunteers also installed new posts and signs at places like the Lower Nambe/Winsor Trail junction to help hikers navigate their treks more safely. To further assist these visitors, our volunteers installed wooden benches along the Windsor Trail.

Engaging so many volunteers in projects like these has obvious benefits, such as making it easier for hikers to navigate trails and preserving the Wilderness characteristics that make places like this so special. But perhaps more importantly, these volunteer projects help to cultivate a new generation of Wilderness stewards, instilling a sense of pride and appreciation for our public lands.

It is our hope that this new generation of stewards will keep coming back to places like the Pecos Wilderness.

Not just as hikers, but as protectors.

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