Agreement Seeks to Protect Taos Valley Overlook Property (NM)

TAOS, NM: A 2,580-acre property at the Taos Valley Overlook will be protected in perpetuity under an agreement signed by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization, and the Klauer Manufacturing Company of Dubuque, Iowa. Announced today in cooperation with the Taos Land Trust and the Bureau of Land Management, the agreement provides for the acquisition of the property over three years.

The property is renowned for its spectacular view that means “home” to people who live in Taos, that brings visitors back year after year, that writers and artists capture on paper and on canvas. Towering mountains to the north and east, horizontal waves of high mesa desert and volcanic peaks along the horizon and the historic Taos Valley below, characterize this spectacular property located in the shadow of the Rio Grande Gorge.

“This ‘Taos Valley Overlook’ is the view we are now working to protect through a major cooperative effort with the Trust for Public Land and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM),” Taos Land Trust (TLT) executive director Clare Swanger announced today.

“I’m glad an agreement has been reached on preserving this beautiful property for the public. It will take some work to get it finalized, particularly since the federal budget for land purchases is extremely tight this year and the appropriations process is well underway already. However, I’ll work to try to secure some funding this year. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll just have to keep trying,” said U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, who serves on the authorizing and funding committees for such land acquisitions.

“I support the protection of the Taos Valley Overlook,” said Representative Tom Udall. “In this regard, I recently requested $4 million from this year’s Land and Water Conservation Fund for this important acquisition. I am hopeful that this request will be successful and will continue to work on this issue as Congress deliberates these funding decisions.”

For this three-phase purchase, the property has been divided into three equal segments. During the first phase, TPL will acquire the 860-acre portion lying nearest the Horseshoe Curve. This first phase will require a $4 million appropriation by Congress from the Land & Water Conservation Fund this year. “We are excited to have the opportunity to protect this incredible resource and we look forward to working with our partners and all the people who care about the conservation of this property to make this effort a success,” said Deb Frey, TPL project manager.

Safeguarding the Taos Valley Overlook property will not only preserve open space in the Taos region, but also will provide local residents and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with new recreation opportunities such as fishing, picnicking, hiking, camping, photography, painting, and just plain enjoying the views.

W. J. Klauer in a statement about the option said, “The Klauer Family has been blessed to be stewards of this scenic portion of the Gijosa Grant since 1915. A few years later my father, W. H. Klauer, built a cabin in these Sangre de Cristo Mountains with unspoiled vistas of the Rio Grande Gorge and the Taos Mountains to the east. His love and respect for this land and its people have been passed down three generations to my grandchildren, my children and myself.

“It is with great pleasure that the Klauer Family enters into this agreement with the Taos Land Trust, the Bureau of Land Management and the Trust for Public Land. The result of this partnership will be the preservation of the Taos Valley Overlook with its spectacular views and recreational uses for future generations of Taose?os and all those who travel to this enchanting place.”

“If this property comes under management by the BLM, it will receive the highest level of scenic viewshed protection possible,” said Ron Huntsinger, field manager for the Taos Resource Area of the BLM. Huntsinger added, “Acquisition of this property will help protect habitat for Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, in addition to critical migratory corridors for other species of wildlife.”

Swanger noted, “Ever since the founding of TLT, many Taos residents and visitors have been telling us how significant this view is to them and how important it is to them that it be preserved so that development can never obscure it. “

Taos Mayor Fred Peralta speaks for countless people when he says, “When I come up over the Horseshoe Curve bend and see this magnificent view, I know I am home.”

Celestino Romero noted the new and added activities that will now be available and said, “This expanded natural recreation area will bring many advantages, especially for the young people in this area and for visiting youth as well.” Romero is an educator, a former commissioner, a former N.M. State legislator, and a lifelong Taos County resident.

“Those who enjoy simply viewing New Mexico’s grandeur will find comfort in knowing this special landscape will be preserved,” said BLM state director Michelle Ch?vez. “The backdrop of the Rio Grande Gorge and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains emanates a special attraction to photographers,” added Ch?vez.

“The completion of the Taos Valley Overlook project will likely be a long and complex process, but with widespread community backing and the support and encouragement of our congressional delegation, we have a marvelous opportunity to preserve a unique heritage for future generations,” said Jack Barrett, board president of TLT.

“Contact the Taos Land Trust for information on how to reach your representative and senators in Congress about this incredible opportunity to protect these significant lands for natural public recreation areas around the Horseshoe Curve and along the river,” added Barrett.

For more information, to support this project, to make contributions or to volunteer your talents and skills, contact the Taos Land Trust at P.O. Box 376, Taos NM 87571, telephone 505-751-3138, fax 505-751-1189 or email

Founded in 1972, Trust for Public Land is a national organization that specializes in protecting conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. Taos Land Trust, formed in 1988, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental land conservation organization helping individuals and communities protect and preserve agricultural, scenic, open space and wildlife habitat lands for the benefit of the people, communities, cultures and natural systems of north central New Mexico.