Fundraising to Protect Sun Mountain Begins (NM)

SANTA FE, N.M. 6/19/2009: A 22-acre property at the base of Sun Mountain, one of the Santa Fe’s most beautiful and revered mountains and an icon of the city, may be protected, according to The Trust for Public Land (TPL). Today TPL, a national conservation organization, announced they have signed an agreement with developer Doug McDowell to purchase the Watson property at 3823 Old Santa Fe Trail on the western shoulder of Sun Mountain.

Sun Mountain is a pristine stretch of undisturbed native landscape and wildlife habitat within Santa Fe city limits, but approval of a development of up to 26 structures on the Watson property threatened to interrupt Santa Fe’s prized scenic backdrop.

To date, more than 900 citizens from all parts of Santa Fe have signed a petition to save the New Mexico icon.

“Whether you hike Sun Mountain, see it in all its glory from the Interstate as you enter town, view it from the Wheelwright Museum patio or from many other vantage points all around the city, it is spectacular and worth preserving,” said Jenny Parks, New Mexico director for The Trust for Public Land.

The purchase price for the 22-acre Watson property is $3.2 million. An anonymous conservation buyer has agreed to purchase almost half of the acreage and dedicate public trail access to the City as well as limit development on the property.

TPL also announced a fundraising effort for the remainder of the Sun Mountain purchase. TPL must raise $1.8 million to purchase the remaining acreage and TPL has 60 days-until August 17, 2009-to purchase the property. One option TPL and partners are pursuing is support from an additional conservation buyer.

“We applaud developer Doug McDowell for agreeing to sell this property and for his generosity. He is giving the Save Sun Mountain group time to raise the money to purchase the property, and we need support for that,” said Parks. “As the City of Santa Fe approaches its 400th anniversary, we hope to celebrate by preserving this acreage on Sun Mountain for Santa Fe citizens. A treasured piece of Santa Fe’s past can now be part of Santa Fe’s future.”

A legacy gift for Sun Mountain can be made to:
The Trust for Public Land
New Mexico State Office
Attn: Dale Snyder
1600 Lena Street, Suite C
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Dale Snyder can also be emailed at dale.snyder at

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected 2.5 million acres nationwide. TPL has had an office in Santa Fe, New Mexico since 1982, preserving more than 150,000 acres of our most treasured landscapes across the state. Most recently, TPL-New Mexico completed the construction of the Railyard Park and Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico.