A Place of Renewal

The Galisteo Basin Preserve is a conservation-based community development located 14 miles south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Embracing nearly 10,000 acres of sculpted arroyos, craggy sandstone formations and vast savannah grasslands, the preserve is place of refuge and sustenance for wildlife and people.

With more than 28 miles of publicly-accessible trails open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians, the Galisteo Basin Preserve is beloved and actively enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors. It is a place of community and quiet reflection: a place of renewal and inspiration.

Our Story

Since 2003, Commonweal Conservancy – a Santa Fe-based nonprofit organization – has protected and restored thousands of acres of open space and trails for community use. Concurrently, Commonweal has championed an innovative model of environmentally responsible development; one that embraces water and energy efficiency, community-building, and land stewardship as core and essential values.

Beginning in 2008, Commonweal Conservancy’s conservation and community-building ambitions were profoundly impacted by the Great Recession. With an enduring commitment to the preserve’s permanent protection, Commonweal’s staff and partners worked creatively and collaboratively to sustain the organization through the downturn — closing its offices and foregoing compensation while continuing to advance its conservation vision for the preserve.

Notwithstanding its best efforts, by the end of 2017, Commonweal’s fate — and the future of the preserve — were in peril.  To ensure the permanent protection and sustained public access to the Galisteo Basin Preserve, the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust stepped forward to purchase Commonweal’s multi-million dollar mortgage portfolio in July 2018. The Thaw Charitable Trust's investment in the Galisteo Basin Preserve is without precedent in New Mexico philanthropic history.  It is an extraordinary commitment to the ecological and recreational values of the Galisteo Basin and the people of northern New Mexico. By their heroic rescue, the Thaw Trust will allow Commonweal to direct its future efforts and resources to the work of trail building, habitat restoration, and other community-building, instead of servicing debt.

Please help us make the Galisteo Basin Preserve a landscape of forever! 

Freed of our land loan obligations, the next chapter of the Galisteo Basin Preserve will require the generous support of people like you; people who care deeply about the landscapes we love and the places we call home.

To fulfill its long-held vision for the preserve, Commonweal has launched a $1.4 million stewardship campaign to permanently protect the preserve with conservation easements, construct more than 22 miles of new trails, improve public access and trail heads, recapitalize its operations, among other goals and purposes. It’s an ambitious fundraising initiative, but one that will significantly enhance the open space and recreational resources of the Galisteo Basin Preserve, as well as restore the land’s soils, grasslands and wildlife habitat.

Please help us ensure an enduring future for this priceless community resource!