Welcome to fall and the cooler temperatures! This month has marked the start-up of many schools and universities in our part of the world and around the nation, some remotely and some in person. Throughout Covid we all have learned a lot about washing hands, not touching our faces, wearing masks, and staying six feet apart. An overarching impact of Covid is that once again open spaces are in great demand! We are seeing the affect that this has on national processing plants and distribution centers for food, and this shows the importance of having local farms and ranches to assist in providing healthy things for us and our fellow creatures to eat. We’ve stated over and over again that we need places for recreation and to experience the great outdoors, for improving our mental and physical health and for reminding us of where we ultimately come from. We are proud and fortunate to live in a community that’s home to the largest urban state park in the contiguous United States, and that El Paso and its surrounding municipalities have long set aside a wide variety of public lands for all to explore, especially now in these trying times of endless closures.
However! Due to the increased use of open natural areas, we are seeing increased destruction of the land. We see more illegal dumping and many more people leaving trash on the trails. Equally unfortunate is that nowadays we see more and more people creating their own trails for biking, running and hiking. People need to think about the negative impact they’re having on the plants and the fields, on the land and the soil, and how the “trails” that they create can only increase erosion. If everyone behaved that way, then all we’d have left would be bare dusty ground, next to no plants, no food or nesting places for our wingèd and four-footed friends, and monsoon rain that would run off the ground.
But onward, now, to a more positive note. Frontera is working long and hard with the City of El Paso to place conservation easements on the Knapp Land and Lost Dog, two well-known circum-Franklin Mountains properties. All Frontera supporters know that “easements” preserve land in perpetuity, entirely or largely in their current condition as open natural space. As we’ve mentioned in the past, easement negotiations are private transactions with landowners—in both cases the City of El Paso—so we cannot share further information at this time. But we’ll be sure to let you know when the time has come to celebrate the preservation of these two open spaces for the community!