30 May AN NPS Site with No Land – Ramona Malczynski
This summer, my internship is with the National Trails Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which administers nine historic trails and Route 66. However, the National Trails Office does not manage any land, like most NPS offices! The National Trails Office administers historic routes that people have traveled for centuries and that are central to the history of North America. For that reason, the National Trails Office works closely with partners who own land along these routes. Much of the land along the routes have historic sites that are of interest to the public, so NPS maintains a close relationship with them to help put up historic markers, informational signage, host events, do outreach with local communities and more.
That means National Trails staff can do field work all over the country visiting over 250 certified partner sites along the trails and talking to trail enthusiasts to add more sites! National Trails staff are housed in various offices, especially since the start of the pandemic, but I will be working at the offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The National Trails office in Santa Fe is located in the Old Santa Fe Trail Building, a historic building built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s in the Spanish colonial style. This building was recently restored and is an architectural marvel!
The other office where I will be based is on the University of New Mexico Campus, where I am currently studying for my PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies. It has been great getting to know my supervisor, Dr. Angélica Sánchez-Clark, and the other wonderful people with the National Trails that work in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Salt Lake City or elsewhere. We have been able to connect virtually and some of us, in person.
For the next few months, Dr. Sánchez-Clark and I will be taking day trips to sites along the Santa Fe Trail, the Old Spanish Trail and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro to meet partners who manage certified sites along the routes. We will be asking them what resources they need to help promote their sites and get the public out on the trail, and letting them know the resource opportunities they have as certified partners. I am looking forward to talking with people who are passionate about these historic routes and many National Trails staff have said that is their favorite part of their jobs.