Delegation Members Urge Agency To Allow Mountain Foot Race

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Several members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are urging the U.S. Forest Service to again allow a decades-old foot race that goes through a wilderness area and up into mountains overlooking Albuquerque.

A letter by Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan and Rep. Melanie Stansbury asks the agency to reverse its 2020 decision that the La Luz Trail Race wouldn't be permitted under the Cibola National Forest's draft land and resource management plan.

The lawmakers wrote that the 9-mile (14.5-kilometer) event held annually for over 55 years “is a point of pride for New Mexicans and an important source of recreation and tourism."

The race, which attracted hundreds of runners, started in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains on the outskirts of Albuquerque and finished at Sandia Crest after an elevation gain of over 4,000 feet (1.2 kilometers).

In a 2020 announcement, Sandia District Ranger Crystal Powell said officials had determined that the race should not have been permitted in the wilderness area since it was a commercial event.

The delegation members' letter dated Wednesday said the race was in conducted ”in full conformance with wilderness requirements."