Galisteo Basin Preserve

Listen to the sounds of the Galisteo Basin Preserve recorded by David Dunn

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The Galisteo Basin Preserve is planned as a 13,522-acre, stewardship-oriented, conservation-development initiative located 13 miles south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the central Galisteo Basin. The Galisteo Basin is internationally celebrated for its scenic, cultural, and wildlife habitat values. Commonweal Conservancy, a nonprofit conservation-based community development organization, is leading the initiative.

In collaboration with representatives of Santa Fe County, conservationists, archaeologists, professional planners, and neighborhood groups, Commonweal Conservancy is working to purchase, plan, and protect the Preserve, previously known as Thornton Ranch. The approximately 20-square-mile property is considered a "high-risk development area"—one whose subdivision into widely dispersed "ranchettes" would threaten the scenic, wildlife habitat, water, public service (e.g., schools, fire fighting, police), historic, cultural, and traditional economic resources of the central Galisteo Basin.

To protect the property's most significant environmental and cultural resources, Commonweal Conservancy negotiated an agreement to purchase the Preserve in five phases. Rather than allowing the property to be subdivided into 12.5-acre and 40-acre home sites, Commonweal has proposed a carefully sited, environmentally sensitive village development known as Trenza that will accommodate mixed-income residential and community-serving land uses within a 300-acre development area. Village design and construction standards will exemplify the values and principles of low-impact, resource-efficient, sustainable development.

The majority of the Preserve—more than 13,000 acres—is planned to be permanently protected as open space. An extensive trail network will allow access accross the preserve to adjoing public land holdings.

Sales of the Galisteo Basin Preserve’s conservation properties and neighborhoods—Southern Crescent, West Basin, New Moon Overlook, East Preserve, and the Conservation Ranches—support the acquisition, protection, and stewardship of the Preserve, as will Trenza's planning and development.

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