When the city of Raton, New Mexico learned about our work at Fishers Peak State Park just over the state border in Colorado, they came to us with an intriguing idea: expand Sugarite Canyon State Park. The proposed expansion, known as Bartlett Mesa, would bring over 2,200-acres of remarkable volcanic landscape and formations to the park. The addition, located on top of a striking mesa, would not only conserve this beautiful scenery and the rich habitat it provides, but would also increase outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking or horseback riding – providing a solution for the growing demand for outdoor recreation and tourism. Additionally, the new acreage would help boost the local economy and provide additional space for people to connect to the benefits of the outdoors. And a trailhead from the State Park to the town of Raton would make the landscape even more accessible.
In collaboration with our partners, including The Nature Conservancy, we are working closely with the Raton community to make their vision a reality. Once the Bartlett Mesa acreage is added to the state park, hiking trails will provide access to this high-altitude paradise and its surrounding vistas. And the community hopes that an eventual park expansion might connect Sugarite Canyon State Park to Fishers Peak State Park, a conservation victory that wouldn’t be possible without this addition.
As the leader in community-driven conservation, Trust for Public Land aims to engage and empower communities across the country to take an ambitious approach to community conservation. With the expansion of Sugarite Canyon State Park, the community of Raton and its visitors can experience this beautiful scenery and the health, climate, and economic benefits it provides.