Friends of the Sandia Mountains (FOSM)

Supporting Sandia Ranger District Since 1997

Whether you are a hiker, mountain biker, cross-country skier, trail runner, or you just enjoy being in the Sandias, you know that our mountains are one of nature’s special gifts.

Have you ever wondered what you could do to help protect our mountains? Do you want to learn more about the animals and plants you find there? Do you like to meet people who share your concern for the Sandia and Manzanita Mountains?

Welcome! Please explore our website to learn more about the goals and many activities of the Friends of the Sandia Mountains (FOSM). We likely have volunteer opportunities that match your interests and abilities.

Click image to check out this great video about the uniqueness of the Sandias (“…young mountains formed of old rock”) created by our friends at the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center.

*Technically, it’s Sandia Mountain (singular), but we often use the plural to recognize the existence of northern and southern peaks.

New to Albuquerque or just new to the Sandias? Explore the many recreational opportunities our mountains offer. Please carefully read the Safety section.

Please check out our La Luz Trail webpage if you are planning to hike this iconic but too often dangerous trail.

An easy way to get involved is to join Cibola Trail Rangers, an email group consisting of hikers, bikers, XC skiers, horsemen, etc., who frequent the trails in the Sandia Ranger District and are interested in exchanging information on trail conditions on both an immediate and continuing basis. The group includes FOSM members trained to correct reported problems.

Please report corrective actions as well as problems so the FOSM trail maintenance crew doesn’t hike to fix a problem that no longer exists.

Click above to learn about this auto tour guide to the Sandias.
Click above to enjoy an entertaining and educational video about the Sandias⏤mountains created by the Rio Grande rift only 10 to 20 million years ago but made mostly of granite 1.4 billion years old⏤produced by NMPBS in conjunction with Albuquerque’s tricentennial in 2006.
Click above to learn about this educational guide to the Sandias.

Sandia Peak Tramway makes the top of the mountain easily accessible and one-way hikes of La Luz Trail possible, but be sure to check their website before starting your journey.

Click image to access website. Chick here for live view from webcams.

Click to read full announcement.

Albuquerque, NM, July 15, 2024 – If you are viewing brownish-red discoloration of trees on the eastern slopes of the Sandia Mountains primarily south of the Crest Hwy. (NM-536), it may be the result of defoliation from the Douglas-fir tussock moth. The defoliation occurs within mixed conifer stands affecting Douglas-fir and white fir trees.

To the casual observer, the affected trees may appear to be dying, but those brown branches signal the outbreak of the Douglas-fir tussock moth, a native defoliator whose larvae (i.e., caterpillars) feed on the foliage of a variety of trees species. The caterpillar feeds on the previous year’s needles often resulting in defoliation, which weakens affected trees and may be followed by subsequent attacks by bark beetles that may kill the tops or entire trees.

Douglas-Fir tussock moth is experiencing a rise in population on the Sandia Ranger District. The caterpillars have thousands of tiny hairs covering their bodies. The female moths, egg masses, and cocoons also have hairs, which can cause tussockosis, an allergic reaction from direct skin contact with the insects themselves or their airborne hairs. Symptoms may include itchiness, skin rashes, skin irritation, watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. More severe reactions, though less common, include blisters, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. Tussockosis severity may vary between individuals, by the amount of exposure, and the level of the outbreak. Everyone should avoid touching or handling this insect, in any of its forms! If contact does occur, immediately wash the area of exposure. If
symptoms become severe or problematic, immediately seek medical care.


Click to read full announcement.

Albuquerque, NM – July 9, 2024 – The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands (NF & NGs) is excited to welcome Heidi McRoberts as Forest Supervisor. McRoberts replaces Steven Hattenbach who serves as Deputy Regional Forester for the Southwestern Region.

Official headshot of Heidi McRobertsMcRoberts comes to the Cibola from the position of Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Kootenai National Forest in northwest Montana and northeast Idaho. She provided leadership and was responsible for all aspects of managing the forest’s vast resources of 2.2 million acres of National Forest System Lands. Her prior land management experiences were on the Umatilla National Forest in Pendleton, Oregon and the Nez-Perce Clearwater National Forests in Idaho. McRoberts spent 22 years working for the Nez Perce Tribe, including 10 years as the Deputy Director for the Department of Fisheries Resource Management/Watershed Division. McRoberts holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Dubuque in Iowa, a master’s degree in Fisheries Resources and PhD in Natural Resources, both from the University of Idaho.


July 3, 2024 – FOSM President Mike Madden said in an email to all FOSM members: “Congratulations to the following 4 newly certified chainsaw folk: Sim Cook, Jamey Browning, Ken Wilson, Tim Kirkpatrick.”

You can read about the rigorous Forest Service certification process and see a full list of FOSM certified chainsaw and crosscut-saw sawyers here.


View slides from the meeting and learn about past and upcoming membership meetings.


Click to watch video.

The project report providing more details about this work can be read here. Thanks Sim and Fred for this exceptional work benefiting the Albuquerque community.


June 5, 2024 – TTYL Crew: Jared (coach and mentor), Hans, Dwight, Robbie (2nd season), Lila, Vianey, Jamie, and Olivia (2nd season and now Crew Leader)

Once again this summer FOSM members enjoyed mentoring future environment and climate science leaders from the Talking Talons Youth Leadership program. FOSM members Joelle Hertel, Lou Romero, and Sam Beard have developed a program that kept the 8 young people engaged in vigorous and educational activities in the forest from June 4 through June 20.

On June 4 Joelle had the TTYL crew working on improvements in the Juan Tabo Picnic Area including filling a seemingly bottomless latrine build by the CCC in the 1930s with sand from a nearby arroyo. On June 5 and 12, Lou Romero and Sam Beard had the youth helping FOSM’s Wednesday crew buck, split, and load donation wood previously felled at the top of the ski area. A few photos from this activity are shown below.

On Thursdays TTYL members helped the trail construction crew build a new connection between the 10K North and Osha Loop Trails and refurbish the Acequia Trail. On other days they helped with painting, graffiti removal, and wildlife drinker assessment.

Photos were added here throughout the month as FOSM project leaders published after-activitie reports.


Thanks, Anne Hickman for your years of faithful service as leader of the paint crew. Anne has stepped down due to other commitments. Please use the form on the referenced pages if you would be interested in assuming this leadership position.


Welcome, New FOSM Members!

James Epps* – July, 18,2024

Lisa Blackford – July 14, 2024

Jeff and Jan Kokos – June 4, 2024

Neil Alessio – May 30, 2024

Tim Kirkpatrick – May 7, 2024

Marianne Randall – April 2, 2024

Judy Ruiz – March 29, 2024

Colleen Leseberg – March 29, 2024

Sharon Esquibel – March 29, 2024

Christine Neher – March 9, 2024

Judith Scarbrough – March 2, 2024

Emily Moore – January 29, 2024

Christopher Mcgrew – January 25, 2024

Allan Miltenberger – January 17, 2024

Laurie Lacey – January 8, 2024

Kerry Jones – January 5, 2024

Linda Shedd – January 2, 2024

*Life sponsor