August 2016 Field Trip – Gila River – Cliff, NM

Gila River, Cliff NM
Saturday, August 20, 2016
On Saturday, August 20, 2016, we will travel to the proposed site of the diversion of the Gila River in Cliff, NM. This is a fact-finding and birding field trip.  The Gila is NM’s last untamed, free-flowing river and one of the premier birding, fishing, hunting and hiking destinations in the Southwest. The proposed diversion at this site would decrease the amount of water flowing in the river seriously harming fish, wildlife, the forest, and the local economy. This particular site is one of the top birding sites on the entire Gila River.

We will meet at the McDonald’s on N. Main in Las Cruces (by the three crosses/N.Main/Solano intersection, also next to the Albertson’s supermarket on N. Main) at 5:45AM for a departure time of 6:00AM. I’d suggest parking in the Albertson’s parking lot as it’s larger than the McDonald’s one. I have room to take along three more passengers in my car. We’ll be stopping to meet the rest of the folks in Deming, so there is also the possibility of someone from Las Cruces driving to Deming and catching a ride the rest of the way there.  If you have a favorite driver you like to travel with or if you’re driving and know who you want as your passengers, you can make those arrangements before hand. Other carpooling from Las Cruces arrangements we can make on the spot Saturday morning.

TRAVEL DETAILS: We’ll be meeting up with the rest of the folks who are going in Deming at the Burger King (N. Gold Ave.) at around 07:00AM+/- to leave there at 07:15AM to head to the destination. It takes about 1 hr and 45 minutess to get there from Deming. From Deming we take US 180 through Silver City to Cliff NM, where we turn right onto Hwy 211; then we turn on to Hwy 293 to the end of the road. This is the Mogollon Box Day Use Area on the Gila River. From there, we’ll take a 30-45 minute walk to an overlook of the proposed diversion site. The walk includes a moderate uphill stretch along an old 4 wheel drive road and a crossing of Mogollon Creek, which is normally dry or with only minimal flow at this time of year. Wear, along with the rest of your clothes, walking shoes;  you’ll also definitely want insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat to keep the sun out of your face. Lunch/snack(s) are also great ideas, as you’ll be most likely to get hungry. And, of course, water! Do bring more than you think is enough, as dehydration is a most unpleasant experience!Regionally recognized avian expert Jarrod Swackhammer will be leading the hike, so bring along binoculars and come ready to see some great country and exciting birds (hopefully)!
Questions, comments? My phone and e-mail are below. Probably phone is the best way to get me if you want an immediate answer as my computer at home is kaput, and all my e-mail I now do from my office in Branigan Library. If you do e-mail, please put GILA Fieldtrip in subject line. Please get back to me by Wednesday the 17th at the latest, so I can then contact the overall trip coordinator and let her know what’s happening.
Looking forward to this!
Mark Pendleton
Mesilla Valley Audubon Society Fieldtrip Coordinator

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