Three entities vie for BLM “Buffalo Tract”

horse_bufftractEveryone seems to want a piece of the Buffalo Tract, a 3142-acre chunk of BLM land that sits at the north end of Placitas. Along with San Felipe Pueblo and the Pueblo of Santa Ana, the San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant Association (SALH) is interested in the parcel. The Land Grant is hoping to acquire 1500 acres of the tract through the federal Recreation and Public Purposes Act and is presenting its proposal at a public meeting:

Saturday, October 11, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Las Placitas Presbyterian Church

If successful, the organization would develop hiking/equestrian trails and picnic areas on the land. In a recent meeting, Land Grant representatives told us they are working to separately acquire 100 acres of the BLM tract for a solar farm, which would provide revenue to establish an historic working museum in northern Placitas (an architect’s model of the museum will be displayed at the Oct. 11 meeting). The Land Grant’s ad on page 12 of the October issue of the Sandoval Signpost has additional information.

The Pueblo of Santa Ana is also hoping to acquire the BLM tract, via congressional legislation or direct acquisition from the BLM. The primary aim of the “Santa Ana Wildlife Corridor Proposal” is to restore the natural habitat on the land and protect the wildlife corridor through which elk, mountain lion and other animals move between the Sandia and Jemez mountain ranges (read a summary of the proposal here). Most of the Sandia-Jemez corridor lies within the pueblo’s current boundaries. Adding the remaining portion that occurs on the BLM tract would mean the pueblo could ensure the viability of the entire corridor and protect it from development. We recently wrote about Santa Ana’s strong track record in land restoration and wildlife management. Santa Ana will present its plan at a public meeting:

Saturday, October 25, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Pueblo of Santa Ana Tribal Council Chamber
2 Dove Rd., Santa Ana Pueblo

San Felipe Pueblo, the third contender for the BLM tract, presented its plans at a public meeting on August 23. San Felipe Pueblo land manager Ricardo Ortiz indicated part of the BLM acreage would be combined with adjacent pueblo lands and used for a horse sanctuary and related tourism operation. The sanctuary would be managed by a Colorado organization. It was not clear how many horses the sanctuary would accommodate. Wildlife corridors would also be protected, Ortiz said, but he provided no specifics. In September, the local Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) began publicly soliciting funds for a San Felipe “Wild Horse Sanctuary,” with donations going directly to WHOA.