NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state’s push for a Rio Grande Trail, a 500-mile trail along the river through New Mexico has been almost 20 years in the making. Now it could finally start gaining some momentum.

“The trail will give the opportunity for people to be exposed to New Mexico’s heritage, culture, the Rio Grande, the ecosystem, the uniqueness of everything New Mexico has,” said Toby Velasquez, the Director of New Mexico State Parks.

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So far out of the 500 miles along the river, only 88.5 have been designated as part of the trail. The city of Albuquerque is using state money to improve its existing boat access point at Central, add shaded shelters, and put up educational signage about the Rio Grande Trail.  

Dave Simon, the Director of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation said, “One is at the Alameda access point at Alameda and the Rio Grande. The other is at an existing river access point at Central and Sunset so there’s no new disturbance and these are just sort of small improvements that will help highlight and educate the public about this new Rio Grande idea.”

Officials say the signage will help people learn all about what the cross-state recreational trail has to offer, like hiking, biking, and horseback riding along the river. “We really want to get people excited about the Rio Grande Trail and know that one person or a group of people can have a tremendous impact in making this a successful project,” said Velasquez.

But the project is in a holding pattern right now as senate bill 94 pushes to transfer the Rio Grande trail commission from the state parks umbrella to the economic development’s outdoor recreation division. “I think the broader vision of getting this trail completed and making more significant progress makes sense that it falls within the outdoor recreation division now that it does exist,” Velasquez said. 

The Rio Grande Trail will run nearly 60 miles in Bernalillo County including trails it’s connected to, some of which run through urban settings in the city.