History of The Turquoise Trail Preservation Trust
In 2007, the Turquoise Trail Preservation Trust was founded to develop a vision, as well as long term planning strategies, for the Turquoise Trail and its surrounding region. The Trail is one of New Mexico’s eight National Scenic Byways, noted for astonishing beauty, historical towns and rich cultural history.
Over the past nine years we’ve been in existence, our volunteer board has led initiatives that: blocked a proposed gravel mine on BLM land; spearheaded a campaign against a gold mine; and made good progress on developing San Pedro’s recreational trail system. We also spent countless hours working with Santa Fe County, representing citizens issues ranging from the Oil & Gas and Mining Ordinances, Gravel Pit Ordinances, as well as implementing overlay preservation zoning and the writing of the County Code.
Grassroots organizations along the Trail have joined our efforts, working piecemeal to address localized threats and often struggling to mobilize broader support. The greatest challenge from a strategic point of view is that there has been no way of coordinating groups to share information and unite quickly when there are threatening issues.
Now, in this critical time, we have a plan to leverage our collective strength. We have formed an umbrella organization: The Turquoise Trail Regional Alliance. Our purpose is to provide a framework to link community and grassroots organizations.
The scope of the region that we seek to protect includes the area east of the Sandia Mountains, roughly bounded by I-25, I-40, Hwy 285 and Hwy 41. Our goal is to preserve the intrinsic beauty of our natural scenic landscape, the ecological habitat which is recognized as a critical wildlife corridor, archaeological sites, local businesses and the cultural and historic qualities of the Trail.
Determined by issues affecting the Trail
1st: Strengthen and build our coalition through communication, education and sharing.
2nd: Liaison with State, County and private land owners to complete a recreational trail system connecting the San Pedro Mountains to the Sandia Mountains all along the southern half of the Turquoise Trail.
3rd: Monitor and be involved during review and Amendments of the SLDC and Zoning Ordinances. For example, in early 2016 the Board and the Alliance participated with Santa Fe County in strengthening the existing Hard Rock Mining Ordinance, which was written in the mid-1990s, suggesting provisions that address new technology and extraction processes that have been implemented since that time.
4th: Interact with government entities as appropriate. As our region covers three counties – Santa Fe, Sandoval and Bernalillo counties – we regularly participate in meetings that take place. We are often involved on the State level as well, depending on what Bills are introduced in the annual Legislative session.