We do not own the land.We borrow it from our children.

American Indian Proverb





Protecting open and productive lands in northern New Mexico

Tree-lined acequias and irrigated farmland, forested mountains and wildlife habitat, expansive sagebrush mesas and inspiring views — this extraordinary natural and cultural landscape is one of our greatest assets and lies at the core of northern New Mexico’s distinctive rural character and special quality of life.

But economic and other pressures can put these precious lands at risk of being sold for development. We offer land owners an option to protect their land while taking advantage of generous tax benefits. In this way, they can enjoy financial benefits while leaving a permanent legacy of natural, open space for the generations to come.

The Touch-Me-Not Mountain Preserve, Eagle Nest - Taos Land Trust has protected this 554.54 acre property since 2006. 

The voluntary conservation easements is one of the tools we use to help landowners protect their family lands. Landowners decide how their land will be used in the future by voluntarily retiring some or all of their development rights. They still own the land, are completely free to decide how they want the land used and are not required to provide public access. They can continue farming, ranching or other sustainable uses, can sell it or pass it on to heirs, but the protection stays with the land forever no matter who owns it.

Retiring development rights on private land is a real gift to the public and future generations. In recognition of that gift, we make sure that landowners at any income level qualify for all the federal and state tax breaks and other financial benefits they are entitled to. To date we have protected over 24.000 acres of land including Conservations Easements that range in size from less than 2 acres up to nearly 3000 acres.

Did you know? An area over twice the size of all the national parks in the contguous United States is protected by land trusts - over 47 million acres. Source - 2012 Land Trust Alliance Census

With your support, Taos Land Trust protects over 24,000 acres of land in New Mexico.

Taos Land Trust has also partnered with other organizations to save places like the Taos Valley Overlook, that fabulous view of the gorge as you come to the top of the horseshoe curve south of town, and Ute Mountain. These are now over 17,00 acres of protected lands owned by you, the public.

Taos Valley Overlook Federal Purchase, south of Taos- This is a 2580 acre property has been protected since 2003

At Taos Land Trust we also understand that you cannot separate the land from the people. Through our De la Tierra a la Cosecha (From Earth To Harvest) collaboration, we promote productive the family farming and ranching that will provide us with food security. We also work with local government to make sure that land conservation is always a part of long-range planning.

Trust - As the only land trust in Northern New Mexico accredited by the Land Trust Alliance you can be assured that we adhere to the highest standard of business processes, sound legal practices and proper use of the funds provided to us. We also follow a regular regimen of auditing by external partners to ensure that we are worthy of the trust of our community.

Did You Know? Taos is losing farmland at an alarming rate. In recent years there has been a 29% loss of farmland in Taos county as opposed to a national average of 18% nationally. Source -Taos Economic Development Corporation

See our video to learn more about
Taos Land Trust!

If you have trouble viewing the video,click here
to check it out on YouTube.



Willians Lake Trail

Photograph by Geraint Smith

The trail from the Village of Taos Ski Valley to Williams Lake is one of the most popular in northern New Mexico.  Every year thousands of hikers, skiers and snowshoers enjoy the gentle trek through the conifer forest to the alpine lake cradled below our state’s highest peaks. 

What is not well-known by most trail-users  is that the lower sections of this popular trail cross private land, and that public access to Forest Service Trail 62, which climbs to Williams Lake and beyond, is made possible only through the generosity of a private landowner.

Taos Land Trust is now working with the landowner to create a conservation easement which would guarantee permanent public access to Forest Service Trail 62 and Williams Lake. The creation of a conservation easement includes a rigorous review process by federal and state agencies.  During the review, the landowner and the land trust must demonstrate to the government that the creation of the easement provides significant public benefit.

If you believe, as we do, that permanently protecting the route to Williams Lake is a significant benefit to you, your family and the general public let your voice be heard. 

Letters in support of this conservation easement project and the permanent protection of public access to the Williams Lake Trail will help us document the public benefit.  Supporting letters and other documentation will be collected by Taos Land Trust and submitted along with the easement approval application in August.

Download a sample letter by clicking here.

If you write your own letter, please consider including some of these key points in your letter:

  • Williams Lake Trail is one of the most popular in northern NM
  • It is used year-round
  • It provides access to Williams Lake and the Wheeler Peak Wilderness
  • The trail crosses private land to access FS/public land
  • The easement would improve the trail and guarantee public access forever
  • The easement provides the public with significant benefit through  recreational opportunities
  • The easement protects an important watershed and critical wildlife habitat
  • I/we support the landowner’s and land trust’s efforts to secure public access through a conservation easement

Be sure to include your return address in your letter. 

Please address your letter to:
John H. Bemis
Cabinet Secretary
New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department
1220 South St. Francis Drive
Santa Fe, NM  87505

Please mail your letter to:
Taos Land Trust
PO Box 376
Taos, NM 87571

Email correspondence is also welcome. Please include your contact information in your email. Click here to send your email of support. 

Thank you!

Celebrating 25 years!

In 2013 the Taos Land Trust will be celebrating 25 years of service and conservation. We look forward to a series of community outreach events, building new partnerships and developing a stronger realtionship with our community.

Visit us regularly for event updates.