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We have one of the most beautiful springs right in our backyard but sadly past visitors felt the need to leave their personal marking for world to see which leaves the next family or tourist wonder why or if the trail walk is even worth it. That is the first issue with this magical pathway, you can't see the beauty due to the damage past travelers left behind. We can't let this continue if we want to bring awareness to this trail and spring and let it radiate like mother nature intended. Without help from our surrounding communities, both physically volunteering and monetarily this trail may never be restored to what it should be. The graffiti and litter continue to multiply leaving it unbearable for newcomers to imagine what it use to be or could be again. No project this size can be done without a team of people with the same passion for our outdoor beauty. Join the cause today! 

The Tunnel Springs Project Team envisions an outdoor recreational area for safe public use. The area has several recreational opportunities for guests to enjoy including a scenic outlook, trails for hiking, a waterfall/natural springs area, a cave and mountain climbing and rappelling area. The Tunnel Springs Project Team is a “panel” of stakeholders who have a common interest in developing this area beyond its current status as a social uses trail to become an identified, safe and official public use area.

See the progress to date and the difference the volunteer groups have made to date! See the groups in action.


April 2021-May 2021

May 2021-July 2021


*Create Map
*Identify group in Otero county to be considered a stakeholder utilizing current contacts and resources namely Axie Nava, Director of Outdoor Recreation (EDD New Mexico).
*Research and Identify a third party company to conduct NEPA
*Begin to assess with Access Fund, US Forest Service and NEPA what is needed related to trail restoration or Construction.
*Apply for funding through Access Fund.
*Research additional funding.
*Watch for RFPs to be released from State of New Mexico and Land and Water Conservation Fund and apply when released.
*Create detailed plan with letters of commitment for long term maintenance of Tunnel Springs area.
*Organize and confirm participation of volunteers including youth groups and interested persons for September 11 clean up. Ensure the US Forest Service is aware of the
the plan.
*Purchase with funding from Ellis Group or Grants items for clean up.
*Conduct first graffiti removal and clean up event. *Organize and budget for trail restoration for tunnel restoration and construction. Identify company to complete this work.
*Begin trail restoration and construction.
*Organize a second clean up event for April 23, 2022 & April 30 2022.
*Hold second graffiti removal and clean up event.

*Complete trail restoration/construction.
*Organize and budget for signage updating and additions. *Identify companies to make and install signage.
*Inform US Forest Service of plan.
*Complete work under Access Fund and submit the final report.

August 2021

September 11, 2021 October 2021-Jan. 2022

January 2022 February 2022 March 2022 April 2022 June 2022

August 2022

September 2022 October 2022 November 2022 January 2023

March 2023 April 2023

September 2023

*NEPA and public input completed.
*Hold third graffiti removal and clean up event.
*Complete signage updates and installation.
*Begin organizing and planning for a vault toilet
*Continued planning of vault toilet and identify company
for installation and long term maintenance of toilet to include regular cleaning service and toilet paper.
*Hold third graffiti removal and clean up event.

*Installation of vault toilet begins.
*Declare Tunnel Spring project complete and a public use Area. Hold a ceremony and/or ribbon cutting.
*Hold fourth graffiti removal and clean up event.

Letter Of
Approval USDA.


Dear Dr. Elliss:

I am very excited to provide this letter of endorsement in support of the Tunnel Vista Trail Project. Your proposal includes designing and constructing a sustainable trail that leads from the Tunnel Vista Overlook to the waterfalls below. The implementation of this project will provide a safer route to the stream below which is already a very popular destination point on the Sacramento Ranger District. Currently the user created trail is very treacherous and most of the public cannot access the stream. We have had several search and rescue efforts at the stream when someone has been severely injured and had to be brought out by stretcher. Retrieving these people is very dangerous and hazardous to the emergency medical technicians. We are very excited to see what we can do together to make this site a safer and more enjoyable recreation experience.

As District Ranger, I am committed to providing the staff time and resources necessary once the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis is complete. This project could be analyzed with a categorical exclusion (CE) since the project is less than 5 acres. In order to complete this project within your expressed timeframe, I would recommend that you utilize a third party NEPA contractor. The final trail design must be completed by an accredited civil engineer and then certified by a Forest Service engineer. The Lincoln National Forest is excited to assist in any way possible to see that this project is a success and will serve to improve public safety.

For the above reasons, the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest supports your proposal without reservation. I am very hopeful that your proposal receives grant funding and through its implementation we will see significant reduction of injuries as well as offer a special recreation experience to the public. The collaborative project will also provide opportunity to improve working relations with local governments and organizations.

If you would like additional information, please contact Marcie Kelton at the Sacramento Ranger District (575) 682-5305.


RANDALL CHAVEZ District Ranger

Graffiti Clean Up.


It takes a community of people, volunteers, investors and grants to fund this project and we are proud to have our partners support. Your company can partner with us to continue the beautification of Tunnel Springs and improving these, for some visitors, treacherous trail and improving the safety while allowing everyone of all ages to enjoy the landmark.

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