Skip to content
9 Airstrip Road Heart of the Gila, Mimbres, NM 88049
Grant Received County Amount
Trails+ 2023 Grant County $54,900
Outdoor Equity Fund 2022 Grant County $13,989
Total Grants Awarded $68,889

Heart of the Gila seeks to conserve our watersheds and educate children, adults, and decision makers about the ecological, social, economic and cultural values of rivers in New Mexico and the bioregions of the greater Southwest. Heart of the Gila celebrates the life of Ella Jaz Kirk, a young environmental advocate who died with her high school friends, Michael Mahl and Ella Myers, while conducting aerial research on post-fire conditions in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico. Our programs span the fields of education, stewardship and advocacy. We maintain a master cost share agreement with the Gila National Forest to provide these services to the public, including the maintenance of trails throughout the Gila. We have maintained over 200 miles of trails in the last 5 years. We focus on the riparian/river corridors in the Gila which see the most use, but get the least attention due to the difficulty of access and planning. We are located at the headwaters of the Gila River in the village of Gila Hot Springs, and use all local/community members for our grants and projects. We help contribute to the local economy by directly hiring from the community for trail crews, invasive species removal crews, and education leaders and guides. Heart of the Gila has an active internship program for 18-24 year olds and we train young people from Grant County New Mexico to work in outdoor fields. Our outdoor equity focus (we have twice been recipients of the NM outdoor equity fund) infuses everything we do, including how we look for interns and integrate a diverse community into our non-profit, “work force”. Since 2017, the Heart of the Gila Trails Partnership has been awarded 85,000 in Federal funds for trail work, and $75,000 in state funding for trail work-all of which was implemented in dozens of trail projects and hundreds of trail miles. In 2022, our Agreement was modified adding additional monies(this document attached), lists all the trails we are permitted to work on, including the Gila River Trail. In 2023, we completed 11 miles on the very popular, Middle Fork of the Gila River Trail that leads to Jordan Hot Springs. Heart of the Gila has provided more than 1,000 Grant County, NM , children with outdoor, experiential activities since our inception in 2017. We are an inclusive, welcoming organization that focuses on creating outdoor opportunities for all New Mexicans. We have a proven track record with the Gila National Forest and recently had our Master Cost Share renewed for 2024-2029. We advocate for the promotion of our recreational economy and the need to work across multiple agencies and groups to create meaningful access to our public lands while. promoting a strong conservation ethic. We advocate for a free-flowing Gila River and support the effort to federally designate the Gila as a Wild and Scenic River. We work with local environmental coalitions to maintain healthy water levels in the Gila River for the maintenance of natural flood processes and endangered species protection.