NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexicans will soon have a new place to hike, hunt, and enjoy the outdoors. The state is celebrating the purchase of L Bar Ranch in Sandoval County near Laguna which was previously privately owned. The 54,000-acre property will be added to the adjoining Marquez Wildlife area making it the largest state-owned recreational property in New Mexico.

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The state says it will be a site for land and wildlife conservation, big game hunting, and tourism. They say it will also increase access to more than 1,000 archeological sites, important to local tribal communities. The state paid around $34M for the land. Officials have not yet determined when the area will be open to the public.