By Intern Drew Lenihan

Meet Dale Ball

9-11 am
Sierra del Norte Trailhead (off Hyde Park Road)

2-4 pm at Cerro Gordo Parking lot and Trailhead (off Upper Canyon Road)
Sunday, June 13

As Santa Feans, we often complain about the rising numbers of tourists and the change to our social and physical landscape, as  hotel companies and outside designers and builders bring in new styles of architecture and foreign aesthetics to our Southwestern town (the inside of Hotel St. Francis, for instance).  While it is sometimes hard to take our eyes off the sores that plague our town such as the Santa Fe Arcade, if we turn to our hills, the beauty that initially captivated us about Santa Fe is reaffirmed.  If we are motivated enough, we can hike up several of said hills at a special event next weekend.

Something we are quick to overlook is the hard work of the

.  Looking away from downtown, we see there are many hills not marked  by multimillion dollar homes, but  instead by numerous beaten paths. For may of these, we can thank the Santa Fe Conservation Trust.

Since its creation in 1994, SFCT has protected over 33,000 acres of land in the Santa Fe area and has created a network of miles of hiking trails through our foothills and forests, according to its website.  One of the most complex networks of trails through Atalaya, Picacho, and the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is the Dale Ball Trails, named for the visionary himself who carried the project from concept to construction.  At 86 years old Dale is still excited to show us the way through the mountains one more time as we celebrate his legacy.

Alan Ball, Dale Ball's son, calls the trails "one of the most important quality of life improvements" in Santa Fe in recent history.  Appropriately, it  is time for us to show our gratitude to Mr. Ball by simply taking a hike with him on the trails he has bestowed upon our community.  Get your boots, sunscreen and safari hat and join us at the trailhead June 13.