ABQjournal: Land Buy Would Link Trails By Laura Banish, Journal Staff Writer
What could be better for Santa Fe hikers and bikers than trekking along the scenic Dale Ball or the Atalaya trail systems?
The answer: connecting the two, an idea Santa Fe County commissioners endorsed by giving staff the OK to negotiate the purchase of approximately 103 acres of land between Atalaya and neighboring Picacho peaks. Commissioners agreed to pay $750,000, half of the total sale price, as part of its Open Space and Trails program.
The tract, appraised at $2.2 million, is owned by local periodontist William Parker. Parker agreed to make a charitable contribution of $700,000, which lowered the cost of the property to $1.5 million.
“It’s really spectacular,” Parker said, describing the area as a “Colorado-like” canyon with a spring and waterfall. …
The tract is located on the eastern edge of the Santa Fe urban area and is bounded by Santa Fe National Forest, Santa Fe Open Space-Picacho Peak land and an undeveloped section of Ponderosa Ridge subdivision. It is considered one of the few remaining large undeveloped tracts in Santa Fe, according to Open Space and Trails Manager Paul Olafson.
“I think it’s a very nice piece of property, especially because it will provide nice trail connectivity and allow public access from the urbanized area into the Nation Forest,” Olafson said.
County officials said it is too early to estimate when connecting trails would be built.
To date, the county has acquired roughly 3,600 acres through the Open Space and Trails program.