Gutierrez Canyon Open Space Expanded to Over 800 Acres (NM)

BERNALILLO, NM 1/29/2008: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Mayor Martin J. Ch?vez announced today the protection of 400 acres in Gutierrez Canyon. Located just off the Turquoise Trail in Cedar Crest, this property will expand recreational opportunities for area visitors. It will provide miles of new hiking and equestrian trails easily accessible from the National Scenic Byway. Its protection more than doubles the size of Gutierrez Canyon Open Space. (Map of property can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.)

“This property connects Gutierrez Canyon Open Space with the Turquoise Trail, opening a local treasure to Cedar Crest residents and visitors alike. Just 15 miles from Albuquerque, this 400-acre property offers visitors an opportunity to get out of their cars and enjoy the rugged beauty of New Mexico’s landscape. It includes great trails for hiking and horseback riding, and will allow for the creation of a trailhead and parking area just off the highway,” said Jenny Parks, state director for The Trust for Public Land.

“I am very pleased that today the City of Albuquerque will be adding 420 acres of Open Space to the City’s current Public Open Space Network,” said Mayor Martin J. Ch?vez. “I want to thank and commend the Milne Family for their safe keeping of the property, that is essentially in pristine condition; and now entrusting the City and the public with its management as an Open Space and Wildlife Preserve. From day one, I pledged the City’s willingness to take on the long term management of the property and to insure that it remains protected for all future generations of people and animals. Albuquerque has one of the top Open Space Programs in the Nation and today we just made it better.”

The property is accessed by a small strip of land just south of the Cedar Springs post office. It is surrounded on the north and east sides by residential development, and abuts Gutierrez Canyon Open Space on the south. Its protection brings the total acreage of Gutierrez Canyon Open Space to 700 acres, and creates the first public access from N.M. 14, the Turquoise Trail.

The property offers hikers and equestrians impressive views from its high ground, and includes oak filled side canyons. Residential development was a very real threat in this scenic part of Cedar Springs, but decisive action from community activists and local and state government ensured its conservation as open space.

The $2.2 million purchase was funded by the City of Albuquerque, capital outlays from the New Mexico legislature, and New Mexico Land, Wildlife, and Clean Energy funds. Key support was provided by Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Sue Wilson Beffort, Senator Kent Cravens, Representative Kathy McCoy, Representative Mimi Stewart, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, and Albuquerque Councilors Isaac Benton and Martin Heinrich.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL has protected more than 2 million acres across the country and in New Mexico, TPL has helped protect over 140,000 acres.?