In 1996, National Park Trust supported the acquisition of a 90-acre property in the Elk Meadows area of Bandelier National Monument. The land was undeveloped, but had been subdivided into 10 residential lots, each an average of 11 acres.

The Trust for Public Land negotiated a sale price with the owner and was able to buy 8 of the lots, totaling 90 acres of land. Two of the parcels were developed and remain in private hands. The Trust for Public Land fell short on expenses for the purchase, so National Park Trust advanced a loan of $8,500 to fill the gap and make the purchase possible.

The subdivision was in an environmentally and culturally sensitive area of the park. It was a quarter-mile from the boundary of the Bandelier Wilderness in the national monument and near the Dome Wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest. Alamo Spring, a site of religious importance to the Native American People living nearby, was a quarter-mile away from the potential subdivision.

Project Details:

Project Years: 1996-1999

Parcel Size: 90 acres  

Project Cost: $1.17 million

Long Term Significance:

  • Acquisition prevented the development of a residential subdivision, protecting adjacent and nearby wilderness areas.
  • Maintenance of green space protects several adjacent springs and tributary streams of the Rio Grande.
  • Transfer to the National Park Service removes mosaic of private and park land, allowing for management of area as a landscape; it leaves only 20 acres of private land in the entire park.

Value to the Public: 

  • Visitors have a permanent recreational access to the land. 
  • Protects the overall atmosphere for Alamo Spring, a sacred Alamo Navajo site.
  • Enhances the natural experience for those using the Bandelier Wilderness.
Map of park project’s location
Mariposa lily found within the park
Queen butterfly found within the park