Editorial: Enjoy autumn in Taos; protect the beauty

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Fall is definitely in the air. The aspen groves are turning gold. Snow blanketed Wheeler Peak and other high points in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains Wednesday (Sept. 27). The mountains around Taos are a beautiful way to enjoy autumn, and they are places that need our protection and care.

Whether you stroll or mountain bike among the changing leaf colors, drive up in the forest to cut firewood or track game in hopes of bringing home precious meat to fill your freezer for winter, we hope you’ll revel in the beauty around you.

The mountains and valleys around Taos offer a solid bit of respite in a world that seems increasingly topsy-turvy, unsettled and off-kilter. How easy it is to get caught up in the craziness. Sometimes taking a moment to breathe deep and soak in the landscape around you can bring life back into balance, at least for a little while.

The beauty around Taos also needs protecting. The mountains – on which Taoseños rely for wood, food, water and recreation – need champions.

Here’s what we can all do:

Help build trails and clean up trash on Bureau of Land Management land during the National Public Lands event Sept. 30. Volunteers are needed to clean and maintain two popular trails in the Río Grande Gorge. Volunteers can meet at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center, 1120 Cerro Road in Cerro at 9 a.m. Saturday. (It also is a fee-free day, so bring your tents and plan on camping out gratis.)

Take a plastic bag with you when you are in the mountains and pick up trash.

Pack your trash out after camping, hunting and picnicking.

Support groups that are working to keep forests healthy and restore watersheds.

Learn about the trees and plants in the forests; talk to helpful Forest Service and BLM staff about what’s there. We protect what we love and understand.

And remember to go prepared when you’re out in the woods and canyons around Taos County.

The temperatures have dropped quickly at night and storms continue to pepper the area. The conditions can change dramatically and rapidly.

Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Take warm and waterproof clothes. Carry extra food and water. Take some friends and stick together.

The mountains around Taos are especially magical now. Enjoy.

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