Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Creating More Trailheads in El Paso up against Bureaucratic Obstacles

Click on image to enlarge.

Over the last few years one of the greatest achievements for outdoor recreation in El Paso was the construction of the Lost Dog Trailhead. The Borderland Mountain Bike Association (BMBA) guided by the leadership of Rick Bonart, Brent Sanders and David Wilson created the trailhead with generous donations from Jobe Materials, the West Texas Urban Forestry Council, the El Paso Water Utilities and others. This private-public partnership created the trailhead faster and cheaper than what it would have cost had the City of El Paso alone constructed it.

Now BMBA is negotiating a contract with the City to build more trailheads. The problem is agreeing on which sites to use. 

An analysis was done on a list of sites produced by the City's Parks and Recreation Department and reviewed by the Open Space Advisory Board. Some of the money designated for trailheads was either on private property or state property. Of the 15 projects on the City's list, 12 are on property the City doesn't have permission to use. 

Unfortunately, the Director of Parks and Recreation, Tracy Novak, doesn't want to vary from the list because composing that list required lots of work to create. This is bureaucratic insanity. Process is valued over product.

In addition BMBA tried to get seed money from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation but the Foundation would not partner with them. Their strict requirements for proving the benefits of any project outweighed the demand for more trailheads.

Rick Bonart summed it up this way: "We all need to work together and make these Quality of Life projects move forward."

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