Friday, November 17, 2017

New Mexico: County Commission OKs plan for Thornton Ranch trail system - Full Article

By T. S. Last / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Friday, November 17th, 2017 at 12:02am

SANTA FE, N.M. — It’s been a long time coming and will take a few more years. But public access to some of the most scenic, historic and culturally significant acreage in Santa Fe County is on the way now that the County Commission approved the master plan for Thornton Ranch Open Space.

The action paves the way for an expanded trail system that can be used by hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, and an educational hub augmented by interpretive signs to introduce visitors to the site. Public access could come as soon as 2021.

The master plan, as well as a management plan for the space, was approved by the County Commission earlier this month, along with management plans for Petroglyph Hill and the Galisteo Basin Interpretive Plan.

“We’ve been working on how we’re going to manage this property for a long time,” Colleen Baker, project manager with Santa Fe County, said of the 2,430 acres in the heart of the Galisteo Basin about 15 miles southeast of Santa Fe. “It’s really the culmination of a coordinated effort to bring all four of these plans together.”

While increasing access is part of the plan, “first and foremost, it’s for the protection of cultural resources – then to provide meaningful public access,” she said.

Central among the cultural resources is Petroglyph Hill, a basalt-capped volcanic outcrop featuring more than 1,800 images etched into the rock by indigenous people, some believed to be thousands of years old, but most carved by pueblo people who resided in the Galisteo Basin, in the short-lived Burnt Corn Pueblo in particular...

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