Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Las Placitas Association July Report


Summer Hikes

Hike coordinator David Haigh came back from vacation with some broken ribs, broken hand and bruises after an altercation between his rented bicycle and an automobile. Patrick Vanderwyden, another LPA avid outdoor enthusiast, has stepped in to lead our promised July event. This adventure will be on Sunday, July 9, meeting in the Merc parking lot at 9 am to carpool to Carlito Springs, part of Bernalillo County Open Space near the village of Tijeras. Closed for three years, the property reopened to the public in May. It should provide some respite from this heat with its 6,300-7,000 foot elevation and the spring that feeds several ponds and a lush riparian environment that nourishes ornamental gardens and an orchard. It is also critical habitat for many species of birds and animals. The site is listed on the NM register of cultural properties and its rich history, recorded back to the 1800s, includes its use at one time as a tuberculosis sanatorium. You can hang out or take the 1.8 mile loop trail – 50 minutes with a 300 foot elevation gain. (At this writing there are two small fires burning on the east side of the Sandias, so it’s important that you email if you plan to join us so we can notify you if there is a change of plans.

BLM Land Use Policy and the Buffalo Tract

LPA attended the BLM’s public meeting in Albuquerque on May 30 where there was discussion about the proposal to balance the BLM’s mission to include a focus on cultural land protection, conservation, recreation, wildlife and more. US Representative Melanie Stansbury addressed the proposed rule this way: “The proposed rule text actually says that the conservation leasing would establish conservation leases for a period up to 10 years for very specific purposes, which includes for restoration of land, mitigation, essentially, for conservation and restoration activities,” she said. “And then it goes on to say very explicitly, and this is a direct quote, ‘this provision is not intended to provide a mechanism for precluding other uses, such as grazing, mining, and recreation conservation leases should not disturb existing authorizations, valid existing rights, or state or tribal land use management.’ So the rule itself has already been very clear about this. It is not intended to disturb other purposes. It’s a tool to enable leasing activities on BLM lands to improve conservation activities as part of restoring intact landscapes.”

Despite the language in the proposed rule, backlash started almost immediately in congress and the public. The level of frenzy is one indication that this could be a huge breakthrough, legitimizing conservation as a “use” under the applicable legal framework – providing “standing”. One of our LPA members said it this way – “You know an idea has power when it stimulates legislation in opposition!”

Save the Date

LPA is still in the planning stages of a 50th Anniversary fundraising adventure to Chaco Canyon for photographers and other visual artists (though open to everyone). However, we have a tentative date for the day trip to Chaco – Saturday, October 21. We are working with James Wilson, author of the soon to hit the stands, New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon: Photographing the Ancient City, for a complete experience including an advance session on best locations, conditions, lighting at different times of day - the day trip - a follow up session to review images and discuss turning them into works of art – culminating in an exhibit of your work sometime in 2024. In the morning we will visit some of the best known sites as a group, then in the afternoon there will be options depending on your level of ability. We are still evaluating transportation options which will impact the cost, so stay tuned!


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