CROWNPOINT, NM – Two years of community input crafted the outline for the K’é Community Trails network, a project spearheaded by the Crownpoint Chapter and Navajo Technical University in collaboration with the National Park Service. Organizers are now seeking feedback from trail users to review the plan and provide final recommendation.
The network consists of four pathways in town that were formed naturally over time from pedestrians walking to and from various community destinations, such as the chapter house, grocery store, or one of Crownpoint’s five educational institutions. Each pathway varies in length and difficulty, but each encourages outdoor, physical activity, and places to experience Crownpoint’s beautiful, natural landscapes. The main goal of the K’é Community Trails network is to improve quality of life through better walking, biking, and running pathways, a healthier community, and sense of place.
The four identified pathways the project will seek to formalize, include: an informal trail south of West Mesa housing by Crownpoint High; the old BIA school’s track; and the pathways between NTU and Diné College. Teepee Trail, the adventure trail heading south of Crownpoint into the mesas, will also be included in the network. Organizers are planning on rebranding each trail based on the four original Navajo clans: Kin yaa’áanii Trail, Honághááhnii Trail, Tó dích’íinii Trail, and Hashtl’ishnii Trail.
Data that helped inform the plan was collected over survey, mapping exercises, and focus groups. Online work sessions were also made available after COVID-19 made contact with the Navajo Nation in March. The information collected helped identify each trail while providing suggestions for amenities and improvements.
A community park, for example, is suggested for the old BIA school’s track while improving the surfacing to function in all weather, perhaps rubberized. Elders within the community identified the track as a safe place to exercise given its flat surface. The idea is to encourage the space to be designed for intergenerational family use.
Technology was encouraged to be incorporated into the trail network to inform trails users about the region’s unique history, which layers Diné livelihood with Chaco culture in present times. Augmented reality (AR) was planned into each trail to educate the public about the area’s landscapes, flora and fauna, and traditional stories associated with each. Historic structures, such as hogans, appear along the trail network and will be highlighted through AR technology for historic preservation purposes.
Other suggestions for the network include wayfinding and directional signage, benches and shade structures, and low impact solar lighting along certain routes.
To request a packet for feedback on the proposed K’é Community Trails network, please email Daniel Vandever at email@example.com. You can also pick up hard copies of the packet at the Crownpoint Chapter or in flyer boxes along each trail. Find out more on the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KeCommunityTrails.