I was struck by the romantic naiveté of some bosque supporters. You hear this bosque is thousands of years old, that it is a wilderness. That view ignores the bike trail, the jetty jacks, the trash heaps, the graffiti, the homeless, the invasive species (including us). This wilderness view celebrates the ditches and ignores the dams, both of which have destroyed the natural seasons of the bosque.
I recently saw a great short film on birders in Central Park, NYC. That park is completely man-made and unnatural but a jewel nonetheless. We are lucky to have a place that really is remarkably close to being a wilderness in a city, but we need to recognize it won’t last without wise care. It won’t last without change — nothing in life does.
Have you hiked the bosque near the Rio Grande Nature Center? What do you think about that chainlink alley ending at a powerstation? Is that the proper entrance for a treasure? From there, you figure out which way to go on the dilapidated asphalt trail, cross a rustic bridge that ends in a railroad tie stairway or a steep trail preferred by cyclists. Speaking of cyclists, look both ways several times before taking your life in your hands and crossing to … well, where? Do you want to go through the jetty jacks or take your chances on the adjacent paved trail? Wander far enough and you’ll find the river, probably. Don’t worry. There’s hardly ever a fire or rape in the area.
My point is those of us who love the bosque overlook a lot of flaws to see what we want to see, which is wildlife, more than anything else. To be a part of nature. To stand in the middle of the largest city in New Mexico and feel like we’re alone in the woods. It’s a great feeling. Ironically, more people need to experience that, though doing so risks destroying the experience. How can everyone find solitude in a small space. How do we manage a wild space?