Size: 566 acres
Location: Sandoval County
Eco-Region: Arizona-New Mexico Mountains
Conservation Values: Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Transferred Conservation Easement
Date Completed: November 2012
Landowner(s): San Pedro Creek Estates Homeowners’ Association
The San Pedro Creek Nature Area is a 566-acre property located just north of the Turquoise Trail in Sandoval County. The Property is adjacent to the San Pedro Creek Estates residential development, which is about 5 miles southwest of Golden, NM. Travelers on the Turquoise Trail might not realize that just off the road exist the canyons and springs of San Pedro Creek, parts of which flow year-round. The San Pedro Creek Nature Area conservation easement protects about two miles of stream that features waterfalls, wetlands, and cottonwood groves. The property also includes cultural sites like petroglyphs, an old railroad bed, and an impressive nineteenth century ore smelter. Upland areas of pinon-juniper and even a few ponderosa pines along La Madera Canyon are protected as well.
The New Mexico Land Conservancy worked to accept the transfer of this easement in 2012 from the Intermountain Conservation Trust (ICT), a small volunteer organization based in Cedar Crest, NM. The property has been protected since 1995 when the original developer of the area placed a conservation easement over open space associated with San Pedro Creek Estates. Since then the HOA has taken over ownership and management of the Nature Area. The HOA and ICT have worked together over the years to conduct stream restoration, especially focusing on the removal of riparian invasives like tamarisk and Russian olive. This work has paid off as native vegetation and sediment have accumulated in the creek. Nearby residents use the Nature Area for hiking, birdwatching, and other recreation, and are committed to its continued restoration. NMLC is happy to have taken over the perpetual stewardship of this special piece of land in the foothills of the Sandias.