Los Pinos River Valley

Los Pinos River Valley

Conserved Land: 2 easements, 135 acres

Description & History
The Rio de los Pinos River meanders along the Colorado/New Mexico border from high in the San Juan mountains in the west, through the Toltec Gorge to meet the San Antonio River in the east. Literally translated “The Pines” river, it runs through some of the most pristine, undisturbed pine forests in the country. Rio de los Pinos also supports extensive cottonwood forests and wetlands: native grass meadows and terraced flood plains are largely grasslands with mixed coniferous forest. Of the particular wildlife importance are the riparian meadows which support a large diversity of invertebrate, bird and mammal species, including a resident elk population. Deer and elk seek out riparian shrub-lands and wet meadows for their rich and nutritious grasses. Lower mountain streams are also important for a variety of cold-water fish. Open water areas such as beaver ponds provide nesting, feeding, and resting habitat for migrating water birds. Small mammals such as meadow voles, pocket gophers, field mice, shrews, mink, and ground squirrels may use riparian woodlands that are seasonally wet. Bobcat, black bear, mountain lion, raccoons and coyote inhabit the area. Species of birds include wild turkey, great horned owl, golden eagles, woodpeckers, mallards and others.

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is not alone in wishing to preserve this area: the Rio Los Pinos Wildlife Area, Cruces Basin Wilderness Area, and the Carson National Forest all protect portions of the river valley; but many gaps remain to be filled. SFCT is working with several of the landowners in the area to place their properties under easement, encouraging sustainable agricultural and land stewardship practices so that the Los Pinos will remain available for the enjoyment of future generations. The Rio de los Pinos provides water for several communities down river including Los Pinos and San Miguel. Protecting the subject property from further development will supports the health of the watershed by maintaining rich riparian areas that reduce soil erosion and runoff and assist with groundwater recharge and infiltration. Protecting headwater areas such as this means more clean water for everyone downstream.

Sharing the river valley is the Cumbres/Toltec Scenic Railroad, a historic rail line built in 1880 for the silver mining towns in the San Juan; it still serves to carry people through this beautiful area on a strictly recreational level. The rail line runs along a ridge from Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico. It is the longest narrow-gauge railway in the United States, the entirety of which is designated a national Historic Site.

Nestled along the Rio de los Pinos is a five mile stretch that was homesteaded by Hispanic farmers and ranchers at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is now one of the last traditional Hispanic agricultural communities that were once so typical along the northern New Mexico tributaries of the Rio Grande.

For more information on the Los Pinos River Valley, please see:

Hispano Homesteaders by F. Harlan Flint

Upcoming Events

Apr
24
Fri
6:30 pm Star Gazing Party – CANCELLED
Star Gazing Party – CANCELLED
Apr 24 @ 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Star Gazing Party - CANCELLED
Night sky in the Galisteo Basin. Photo Credit: Tony Bonanno. CANCELLED Stargazing Parties in the Galisteo Basin Friday, April 24 and Friday, October 16 6:30 pm – 10 pm    
Apr
26
Sun
10:00 am Happy Earth Day / Acequia and Ri... @ Railyard Park Community Room
Happy Earth Day / Acequia and Ri... @ Railyard Park Community Room
Apr 26 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Happy Earth Day / Acequia and River Cruise @ Railyard Park Community Room | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
Click on image for full-size flyer River and Acequia Cruise, May 13, 2017 Join this slow and mellow community bicycle ride celebrating Earth Day 2020.  We will visit trails, parks, and mellow streets along the[...]
May
24
Sun
all-day Bears Ears Guided Camping Trip @ Bears Ears National Monument
Bears Ears Guided Camping Trip @ Bears Ears National Monument
May 24 – May 29 all-day
Bears Ears Guided Camping Trip @ Bears Ears National Monument
Outings and Explorations Immerse Yourself in the Canyons, Cultural Sites & Rock Art of Southeastern Utah’s Cedar Mesa When Sunday, May 24 to Friday, May 29, 2020 Price:  $960         Deposit:  $200 ($460 tax-deductible) Leader:  Linda[...]
Jun
20
Sat
8:45 am Tecolote Ranch Insider Tour @ Tecolote Ranch
Tecolote Ranch Insider Tour @ Tecolote Ranch
Jun 20 @ 8:45 am – 5:00 pm
Tecolote Ranch Insider Tour @ Tecolote Ranch
Santa Fe Conservation Trust 2019 INSIDER TOURS Ruins · Artifacts · Views · Historical Sites Rare opportunities to explore archaeological sites on private land with archaeologist, Steve Post (see bio below). R.S.V.P. by phone (505)[...]
Jul
10
Fri
8:45 am Tecolote Ranch Insider Tour @ Tecolote Ranch
Tecolote Ranch Insider Tour @ Tecolote Ranch
Jul 10 @ 8:45 am – 5:00 pm
Tecolote Ranch Insider Tour @ Tecolote Ranch
Santa Fe Conservation Trust 2019 INSIDER TOURS Ruins · Artifacts · Views · Historical Sites Rare opportunities to explore archaeological sites on private land with archaeologist, Steve Post (see bio below). R.S.V.P. by phone (505)[...]

2018 Annual Report