ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Open Space crews say they’ve been especially busy this winter sweeping out the dozens of homeless camps. Officers say in the past month they’ve located nearly 40 campsites in Albuquerque’s bosque and they said it’s a major safety issue. “During the winter if you look around there’s no leaves in the trees so you see deep into the woods,” said Anthony Martinez, Open Space Officer.
Martinez also says the bosque is riddled with people camping illegally. “People making an actual house with structures and tree branches and trash anything and everything they can drag into the bosque.” For the past 30 days, he says the Open Space unit has located 35 campsites and so far 11 people have been cited.
Martinez says these campsites put the bosque at risk. “It just takes one cigarette improper handling of a fire anything like that and all this stuff can explode with fire,” said Martinez.
He says their goal is to keep the area safe and beautiful. “It’s not fun for people to have to walk through a bunch of trash clothing that’s strung out all over the bosque.”
Martinez also says those who are cited for camping illegally could face community service, fines or even jail time. Albuquerque Police Department’s Open Space unit is made up of four officers. Two of them patrol 30,000 acres of land at a time.
The Parks and Recreation Department also has crews that help to clean up the campsites once they are located.