The Santa Fe County Commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution in support of the State’s proposed expansion of Cerrillos State Park, which will include a wild horse sanctuary. WHOA was in attendance, as was the Albuquerque Journal (which did some fairly straightforward reporting for a change):
County Commission Supports Ranch Buy
The Santa Fe County Commission on Tuesday expressed its support of Gov. Bill Richardson’s plan to buy the Ortiz Mountain Ranch near Madrid to expand an existing state park and create a wild horse sanctuary.
The commission voted 4-0 on a resolution supporting the governor’s proposal to buy 12,000 acres of land about three miles south of Madrid. The land would expand the nearby Cerrillos Hills State Park, which sits on land owned by the county.
The commission “believes this is a unique opportunity to build on New Mexico’s conservation legacy and generate additional assets for a growing ecotourism industry, and strongly supports the purchase of the Ortiz Mountain Ranch as proposed,” the resolution states.
The governor’s proposal has been controversial. Critics argue that the $2.8 million in federal stimulus funding proposed for the purchase could be put to better use, but the commission didn’t express those same concerns.
“I think that this purchase is really good for the people of Santa Fe,” said Commissioner Kathy Holian. “It’s going to provide a lot of new, interesting recreational opportunities. I think it’s good for our tourists — we have a budding eco-tourism movement in our community, and it would be ideal for that.”
Patience O’Dowd, president of the Wild Horse Observers Association, commended the commission on its vote.
“I think in these hard economic times anybody who does not recognize that tourism is our No. 1 private sector employer hasn’t really looked into the issue of jobs,” she said.