WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján announced that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will be used to promote preservation and open up access to more than 2,000 acres of land in Santa Fe County’s Galisteo Basin. $1.5 million in LWCF funding will purchase the Burnt Corn Pueblo site, a 365-acre parcel near Santa Fe County Road. Burnt Corn Pueblo is one of 24 nationally significant archaeological sites in the basin, home to Native American and Spanish ruins. With this purchase, the entire Burnt Corn Pueblo will be protected for future generations.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) notified Udall — as ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies — of the decision this week. A nearly $150 million increase in funding for the LWCF in last year’s appropriations bill moved up the timeline for the project, which was not expected to move forward until 2017 at the earliest under the previous, lower levels of annual funding. Udall, Heinrich and Luján strongly supported the funding increase and asked the BLM to prioritize the purchase.
In addition to its historical significance, the newly acquired Burnt Corn Pueblo parcel will create new recreational opportunities in Santa Fe County. The property is adjacent to Petroglyph Hill and other private conservation efforts, and it will help connect protected lands within the larger landscape.
“The Galisteo Basin is home to numerous sites with deep historical and cultural significance, but many are scattered and still lack public access and protection,” Udall said. “Purchase of the Burnt Corn Pueblo will allow for conservation of historical resources and open up new land for visitors interested in the Native American and early Spanish settlement ruins. I want to thank the Trust for Public Land and several federal, state, local and Tribal partners are for their ongoing collaboration to conserve the Galisteo Basin and connect the network of sites. As we’ve seen, the LWCF is critical to these cultural conservation efforts. This is just the latest example of the many ways New Mexicans benefit from the LWCF, and I’ll keep fighting for full, permanent funding.”
“The Galisteo Basin in northern New Mexico is rich in heritage with deep cultural roots,” Heinrich said. “This funding will ensure that the Burnt Corn Pueblo will be permanently protected and allow visitors to explore and learn more about the pueblo way of life hundreds of years before European contact. This incredible success wouldn’t be possible without the advocacy of pueblo leaders and community members who’ve worked for years to have this site preserved. LWCF is a valuable program that’s protected some of our most important public lands, and now we can add Burnt Corn Pueblo to that list. I will keep fighting for permanent reauthorization and full funding of LWCF so we can continue to conserve our heritage.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect New Mexico’s precious land and water resources that are a part of our heritage and culture. This latest effort through LWCF to preserve the Galisteo Basin-Burnt Corn Pueblo will contribute to the preservation of important archaeological sites that help capture the rich history of this area,” Luján said. “It will also contribute to the creation of a long distance regional trail network that will enhance access for all those who enjoy the great outdoors in the Land of Enchantment. Outdoor recreation is an important component of New Mexico’s economy, creating jobs and attracting visitors from around the world. LWCF continues to play a key role in growing this vital sector and I will continue to be a strong advocate for sustaining the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
A map of the Burnt Corn Pueblo parcel is available here.
The LWCF has helped create and protect urban parks and open spaces that enhance recreation and outdoor opportunities in urban and rural communities alike. It's funded through revenues from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf and does not use taxpayer dollars. The program also supports America's outdoor recreation, conservation and preservation economies, which contribute more than $1 trillion to the nation's economy each year and support 9.4 million American jobs. More than $261 million has been spent in New Mexico since 1965 to protect natural resources and provide recreational opportunities, including more than $41 million for state and local grants.