Wild Trout Recovery in Northern New Mexico
- Participate in a hands-on wildlife catch-and-release field project for wild trout and other species
- Work with field biologists in a remarkable location in rural upland New Mexico
- Contribute accurate information to a study that helps land managers assess and evaluate wildfire ecology and recovery
- All equipment and training for our project, and transportation to all catch-and-release locations
- Comfortable, dual-occupancy lodging along the banks of the Jemez River, and nearby hot spring bathhouses
- All meals
|Dates||May 18–24, 2014|
Surrounded by the Santa Fe National Forest and Bandelier National Monument, the Valles Caldera National Preserve is the giant crater of a massive super volcano that erupted 1.25 million years ago. The Caldera was born of fire -- riotous, exhaustive, smoldering, pulsing, and finally cascading molten rock. Not extinct, but only dormant, it still dreams of the ghosts of that past, still boils from within, pouring forth ubiquitous hot springs. Deep below, a significant fault line shrugs and wrenches itself along the Great Rift of the Rio Grande Valley, thrusting the shoulders of the Jemez Mountains westward and the Sangre de Cristos eastward.
But this is not stark and ravaged ground; this is a montaine upland draped in ponderosa pine, fir, spruce and aspen, gleaming with the golden stems of tall grass meadows, and shimmering with the glitter of woodland streams. Creatures and wildlife roam at will, in their seasons -- up the mountains in spring and down in fall -- a parade of solitary and herd species passing within our ken, if we have the patience to be still and watch...
The ambitious nature of the project, the spectacular location, and the well-appointed accommodations assure that this will be a popular trip. If you have ever wondered, 'What do biologists and environmental professionals really do?' or if you have always wanted to do a service trip but hesitated at the last minute, this may be the trip for you.
Following the Las Conchas wildfire in the summer of 2011, the Valles Caldera’s science program began a long-term study on the ecological recovery of the Preserve's ecosystems and their wildlife.
The studies include vegetation recovery in grasslands, forests and mountain meadows, as well as wildlife population recolonization and expansion, including stream populations of invertebrates and fish.
As part of this large-scale effort, the Sierra Club volunteers will participate in both stream and terrestrial ecosystem measurements: capture-and-release studies of the fish communities in the post-snowmelt environment, and biodiversity surveys of springtime terrestrial arthropods (beneficial and pest insects and other invertebrates) in forests and grassland valles.
Four field days will be devoted to the project, which will include some laboratory work to process the samples and prepare them for analyses.
This is a lodge-based trip at a single location. Once we are settled in, we will stay put for the duration of the trip.
Participants should plan to arrive on the afternoon of the first day. A specific meeting time and location will be sent in separate communications to the group. No work is scheduled for the day of arrival.
The work week will consist of two work days, then a day off, and then two more work days. The group will depart on the morning of the last day.
Accommodations and Food
We will be staying in the Baca Lodge, a beautiful round, stone structure formerly used as a hunting lodge. It has eight bedrooms with twin beds and four shared bathrooms. Each room opens immediately onto the great room, and looks outward onto a vista of the caldera. Rooms will be assigned based on double occupancy. Linens -- including bedding, pillows, blankets, and towels -- are furnished; you will need to bring your own toiletries. The center of the lodge is a large lounge area with comfortable chairs, dining area, and large fireplace. Smoking is not allowed in the lodge. Adjacent to the lounge area is a large, well-equipped kitchen where meals will be prepared.
Each participant will be expected to assist with meal preparation for at least one day. Typically, breakfast will be served at 7 a.m. We will pack lunches to eat wherever we happen to be at noon. Please bring hard plastic containers to hold your lunch and snacks. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. in most cases. Reasonable dietary requests (especially concerning food allergies) should be carefully noted on your trip questionnaire. (See: General Notes/Participant Approval at the end of this brochure).
This will be a moderately strenuous trip. Be in good shape and prepared for lots of work and fun. Anyone who doesn't live in mountain/high desert environs must have a healthy respect for the altitude. Many concerns about having an enjoyable trip are tied to the altitude. At 8,000 to 11,000 feet, lungs must work harder to get needed oxygen. This accelerates water loss, even before you add a little healthy perspiration. A current up-to-date tetanus shot is required for this trip.
NOTE: All participants must be approved by the trip leader to be included on the trip. Please follow the instructions for "Participant Approval," found in the General Notes section at the conclusion of this brochure.
Equipment and Clothing
The VCNP will provide work tools and transportation to the work sites.
Trip members are expected to furnish their own day pack. Please bring at least two one-liter/one-quart containers for carrying water, your own supply of moleskin and Band-Aids, sunscreen, insect repellent, and lip balm.
Bring comfortable clothes and boots. Remember, this is not a fashion show -- bring clothes that are broken-in but not worn out, and that can be easily layered for warmth. In the late spring, average temperatures can fluctuate between 40 and 70 degrees.
- State of the Preserve, 2002-2007: vallescaldera.gov/about/trust/docs/trust_LandUse-History.pdf
- VCNP Land Use History: vallescaldera.gov/about/trust/docs/trust_SOPDecember2007.pdf
- VCNP website: vallescaldera.gov
The west is a desert, or wants to be one, and it likes to burn on a regular basis.
Wildland ecology, now more than ever before, must answer questions for today and for decades to come.
Research work, and building reliable data, makes these crucial decisions more factual, more informed, less theoretical, less apocryphal, and augment the tools that land managers need to continue the delicate balance between human usage and wildlands needs.
Combining the lessons of the past and the knowledge of the present, it is still possible to protect and conserve the biological and ecological heritage of our wild-earth places.
Notes for Sierra Club Outings
- Carbon Offsets
- Electronic Billing and Forms
- Electronic Devices
- How to Apply for a Trip
- Leader Gratuities
- Liability Release and Assumption of Risk
- Medical Issues
- Non-discrimination Statement
- Participant Approval
- Reservation and Cancellation Policy
- Seller of Travel Disclosure
- Travel Insurance
- Trip Feedback
- Trip Price
- Wilderness Manners