ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s Open Space Division has big plans to turn city-owned farmland near the Bosque into a naturally-restored habitat.
Now, it wants people to chime in on its idea to make the Candelaria Nature Preserve off Rio Grande, north of Candelaria, more accessible to the public.
“How we have activity that supports the site but doesn’t scare off the wildlife and provides that nice balance, is something that’s going to be really important and something we’re in the process of considering,” Open Space Division Superintendent Colleen McRoberts explained.
This Saturday, the public can give input on the division’s three proposed options for the North Valley space that borders the Rio Grande Nature Center.
They want to convert alfalfa fields into a native habitat over the next 20 years, add trails, create three bird blinds or shelters along the perimeter of the property for watching wildlife, and even restore an old building and turn it into a museum or educational center for guided tours.
In the past, nature lovers have pushed back against any changes in or around the Bosque, like in 2013 when a lot of people slammed Mayor R.J. Berry’s push for more trails, picnic areas and even a restaurant in the Bosque.
“There are those conversations happening right now, and so we’re really trying a balanced approach of listening to all voices, you know, being considerate of our neighbors,” McRoberts stated.
So far, people appear to be on board with the proposals.
“I’m all about turning farmland back into a nature preservation so that people in Albuquerque can take their kids out and enjoy wildlife that should be local to the area,” John Rensel of Albuquerque said. “It’s a great place for families or for schools to take students to see what the actual environment of the bosque should look like, not what we’ve turned it into.”
None of the plans would allow the public to come and walk on the farmland whenever they want. Access would be managed and include guided tours and educational programs for community groups and schools.
They hope to have a final plan to present to city council by the end of the year.
The Open Space Division doesn’t know yet how much the proposed updates would cost or where the funding would come from.