Size: 160 acres
Location: Socorro County
Eco-Region: Albuquerque Basin Level IV
Conservation Values: Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Cultural/Historical
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: December 2019
Where there’s Water . . .
With its full-circle panoramic mountain views, Arian Pregenzer could not resist the Solitaire Springs property when she first saw it back in 1996. “I loved Ladron Peak, and that whole area,” she explains. The 160-acre property — an “in-holding” of the Cibola National Forest in Soccoro County — is situated in the middle of a larger regional complex of federal land, including a patchwork of BLM land, Cibola National Forest, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, and part of White Sands Missile Range.
Arian and her husband built a rammed-earth dwelling onsite, “with not too many amenities, which at the time seemed like a good idea,” she reflects, with a chuckle. “It’s more challenging now, as we get older.”
As its name implies, a perennial spring on the property represents a rare water source in the arid landscape and the property is full of wildlife, including elk and deer, pronghorn, myriad bird species, as well as smaller mammals such as badgers that rely on the water source. The land in the region is rich in cultural and historical sagas, as well, ranging from early Navajo to Spanish land-grant families, and a few Civil War relics such as cannon balls still remain in the general area.
The conservation easement was completed in December 2019 and covers the entire property, which is used solely as a tranquil getaway retreat. Despite the property’s smaller size, conserving these kinds of highly desirable in-holdings from being subdivided and developed reduces the potential conflicts and management headaches that these properties can often present for the agencies that manage surrounding public lands ─ especially when the in-holdings possess the magic of a year round water source in an otherwise much drier, surrounding landscape. #