ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A national conservation group has acquired a sprawling ranch near a New Mexico mountain peak held sacred by Native American tribes.
The Trust for Public Land announced Thursday that land managers would be able to create New Mexico's largest state-owned recreation property near Mount Taylor.
The $34 million effort comes as state and federal officials look for opportunities to preserve more natural landscapes amid climate change.
The property encompasses more than 84 square miles of grassland, volcanic cones, rugged mesas, and part of the Mount Taylor Traditional Cultural Property, which is on the state register of historic places due to its significance to Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona.
The volcano now sits dormant, covered with ponderosa pine and other trees.
The New Mexico Game and Fish Department now owns parts of the property, while land managers will take over ownership of the rest in the coming years.