Monday, May 31, 2010

Santo Domingo and Sile Bridge--New Mexico

So, here we go on our first mission.  This morning my brother in law Dave Miller and I set out for a quick trip up the Rio Grande to Sandoval County.  The Bridge at Sile, New Mexico is my first stop.

This is a little known structure that lies on the river between Santo Domingo Pueblo and the Village of Sile.

It doesn't get a tremendous amount of traffic because not many folks use it or even know of its existence on State Road 22.  And so far there is a dearth of historical information on Sile, NM which lies on the west side of the Rio Grande between Santo Domingo and Cochiti Pueblos.  Across the river lies the Baca family home village of Pena Blanca.

The bridge is narrow and aging, but sturdy.  Its coordinates are N35º 31.593'  W106º 22.371' at an elevation of 5200 feet.  Click here to see a satellite map at the google site.

I have always liked the little village of Sile and the pueblos that surround it and Pena Blanca on all sides.  There are about 2500 acres or so that comprise the two villages.  They could see a lot of growth as new Corrales style communities with the advent of the Rail Runner Service at Santo Domingo.

Sojourn on the Rio Grande.

I am setting out on a sojourn that might take a few years.  I always knew something like this would be fun and this particular inspiration came from a friend of mine, John Koontz of Albuquerque.  It is a natural and I have to thank him for thinking this up for me.

What I will begin, as of today, is an effort to photograph every bridge over the Rio Grande from the headwaters in Colorado, through New Mexico, into Texas and to the Gulf of Mexico where our great river terminates.  I guess I should get oil resistant boots for when I arrive down there in a couple of years.

I will attempt to give you views of the bridge and a little information about the communities around the bridges.  There will be lots of links and Google map coordinates that you can paste into the maps program on line so you can see the satellite view of the bridge.

Certainly the hundreds of spans over the Rio Grande are over troubled waters.  Undersupply, overuse, pollution, and climate change will continue to impact this mighty southwestern 'aorta'.  In one hundred years our grandkids will most likely be dealing with a river we couldn't envision today.  In my optimistic vein I would like to think we users will wise up and do the right thing to preserve and protect the Rio Grande and its many species.  In my pessimistic vein I feel there is very little time left to save this resource from man's natural greed to beat the bejesus out of everything that sustains us.  It could be that some day most of the bridges we will visit will permanently run over dry or concreted and diverted channels devoid of water and wildlife.  Our questions on the river's viability may be answered sooner than we think.