Carlito Springs Open Space CLR and Trail Development

Location: Bernalillo County, NM

Completed: 2012 and 2014

Bernalillo County’s Carlito Springs Open Space is 179 acres of mostly undeveloped land located near the Village of Tijeras in the foothills of the Sandia Mountain range. The site was first settled as a homestead in 1891 and has since served as a resort, a camp, a boys’ school, a tuberculosis sanatorium and a private residence. The historic features of the site include several buildings, an orchard, a spring, ponds, fountains, ornamental gardens and trails.

MRWM completed a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) for the Open Space in 2012. The CLR included a phased master plan and an opinion of probable costs for site improvements that would allow public access while preserving the historic qualities of the site. MRWM later worked with the County to design a three-quarter mile sustainable natural surface trail, trailhead and parking lot. Loris & Associates were contracted to consult on the trail and pedestrian bridge design.

The trail met the standards of the International Mountain Biking Association and caused minimal site disturbance. The low impact design of the trail worked with the site’s natural topography and features, avoiding sensitive archaeological sites while directing users to significant historic and natural features. The project also included a trail head, parking area and pedestrian bridges where the trail crosses a creek.

MRWM also worked with a team to build a spring box to protect the natural spring that is the only water source for the Open Space. Knowledge gained from completing the Cultural Landscape Report allowed recommendations to be made on how to best integrate the spring box with the site. Importantly, the historic look and feel of the site was respected while allowing modern technology to protect and manage the site’s water source.