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Candelaria Nature Preserve

Information about the 167-acre Candelaria Nature Preserve.

A Brief History of the Candelaria Nature Preserve

Sandhill Crane drawing

In 1977 the City of Albuquerque purchased approximately 167 acres in the north valley to create a nature preserve with an outdoor recreation component. The property was purchased with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since the property's purchase, Candelaria Nature Preserve has been operated and maintained by the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park as a part of a network of open spaces that:

  • Preserves and protects natural features and cultural resources,
  • Creates a sense of place for residents and visitors,
  • Provides educational and recreational opportunities, and;
  • Contributes to a network of Rio Grande migratory bird refuges along the Rio Grande.

The City of Albuquerque is in the process of creating a resource management plan for the 167-acre Candelaria Nature Preserve located right in the middle of the city, and we are asking for your input!

Resource Management Plan Goals

The fundamental goals of this resource management plan include:

  • Comply with City Council requirements by:
    • Managing the property for its original dual purposes of a nature study area and wildlife preserve, while providing compatible public outdoor recreation opportunities,
    • Correcting issues of non-compliance with Land and Water Conservation Fund rules and policies,
    • Basing the Resource Management Plan primarily on the 1979 Predock Plan and drawing relevant information from other planning documents, and
    • Developing feasible alternatives that comply with City Council Resolution R-16-147 and LWCF regulations.

Below are potential management alternatives prepared by SWCA and presented to the Technical Advisory Group during the April 11, 2019, meeting.

Below are documents presented at the June 22nd, 2019, public meeting. This includes the draft resource management plan for Candelaria Nature Preserve, as well as the panel presentations. The first panel includes wildlife habitat maps representing the existing conditions, transition plan, and 20 restored wildlife habitat plan. The second panel represent options for limited and increased public access and outdoor recreation opportunities.

  • Draft Resource Management Plan
  • Panel Presentation; if you are unable to access this document, the following is a summary of the illustrated recreation proposals:
    • Candelaria Farmed Area (north of the Rio Grande Nature Center and Veranda Road, access gate at the end of Arbor Road off Rio Grande Blvd.)

      Currently, the property has a large perimeter chain-link fence around it and is closed to the general public but allows views into the property from neighboring ditches and roads. The Open Space Division has a contract with a local farmer who grows wildlife crops on 35% of the farmable areas, and the rest is grown in alfalfa to off-set costs for maintaining the property. There are wetlands and Bosque habitat along the western edge of the property.

      Tree New Mexico propagates tree and shrub saplings near the Woodward House that are used for restoration projects throughout City Open Space with the help of volunteers. The Woodward House has been renovated; however, it is currently void of signage, furnishings, and plumbing and is closed to the public. The Open Space Division occasionally leads guided tours and school fieldtrips to help with planting activities. A Southwest Conservation Corps Ancestral Lands Crew also helps to maintain weeds and remove dead woody material over the summer.

      Limited Access proposal for Candelaria Farm includes keeping the property closed to the public, but installing 3 wildlife blinds along the periphery. There will be additional guided tours, possibly led by City and State Parks staff. The Woodward House will be opened during the guided tours and include interpretive signs. Partnering agencies and volunteers would help with citizen science and monitoring activities.

      Increased Access proposal for Candelaria Farm includes keeping the property closed to the public, but installing 3 wildlife blinds along the periphery. There will be additional guided tours led by staff and partnering agencies. The Woodward House will be open during guided tours and include interpretive signs, and provide dedicated office and storage space for partners. A vault toilet will be installed. Partnering agencies will increase the activity around the Woodward House to the adjacent field (just south of the House) to include educational and stewardship activities in support of wildlife habitat. Opportunities may include propagating native seeds for restoration projects as well as traditional plants like gourd for bird houses. These groups would also provide limited educational programs to school groups and the public, and work with the Open Space Division to assist with restoration projects converting the farm fields to native habitat. Partnering agencies and volunteers would help with citizen science and monitoring activities.

    • Candelaria South (just south of the Rio Grande Nature Center and Candelaria Rd.)

      Currently, this property fenced off and closed to general public access. The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park manages the northwest corner of the property where the Discovery Pond is located, and provides educational activities at the pond. The rest of the property is managed by the Open Space Division.

      Limited Access proposal for Candelaria South includes keeping the property closed to the public, with the possibility of occasional guided tours that extend from the Discovery Pond.

      Increased Access proposal for Candelaria South includes providing a pedestrian access gate off of Candelaria Rd. for visitors to enter and walk on a designated trail. In this version, the Discovery Pond would be fenced off to the general public, but guided educational activities would continue. Additionally, a viewing platform and possible silent meditation area would be constructed south of the Discovery Pond that would overlook the property.

    • Tree Farm Nursery (off Rio Grande Blvd. between Cherokee Rd. and Arbor Rd.)

      Currently, the Tree Nursery is managed by the City’s Park Management Division to propagate trees for City Parks. The area is also used to stockpile material for parks including mulch and compost. The site has a larger perimeter fence around it and is closed to the general public, with access only intended for City staff.

      Limited Access proposal for the CABQ Tree Farm Nursery- enhance the tree farm nursery with cover crops and new plantings with volunteer help, especially with the Tree Steward Program. The park material to the north would be removed and a parking area established with a pedestrian access gate to the Duran Lateral and viewing blind into the Candelaria Nature Preserve.

      Increased Access proposal for the CABQ Tree Farm Nursery- continue the tree farm nursery with volunteer help, especially with the Tree Steward Program. Additional activity may also include integrating native seed propagation. The park material to the north would be removed and a parking area established with a pedestrian access gate to the Duran Lateral. An accessible pedestrian bridge would be installed over the ditch to the viewing blind into the Candelaria Nature Preserve.

How To Get Involved

  • Attend meetings of the Technical Advisory Group. Unless otherwise stated, all meetings take place at the Rio Grande Nature Center in the Education Building, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.:
    • April 11
    • April 29 (please note, this will take place at 10:00am at the Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors NW)
    • May 9
    • July 11
    • Aug. 15
    • View previous minutes and agendas.
  • Bookmark this page to get the latest information on upcoming public meetings and discovery hikes in 2019.
  • Provide comments on the Draft Resource Management Plan or Panel Discussion (both linked above) by any of the following methods no later than July 22nd, 2019:

Download a flier for this effort.

Public Outreach Schedule

  • Stakeholder Interviews – November and December 2018
  • Public Meeting #1 – Goals Establishment – January 30, 2019 - Agenda, Meeting Presentation
  • Candelaria Nature Preserve Discovery Hikes – February, March 2019
    • Click on the link below for your preferred time and location. It will direct you to the City's event registration website. Add the item to your cart, and the site will ask you to login or register for an account. Please follow the prompts to complete the registration process. If you experience any difficulties registering for the hike of your choice, please call (505) 452-5202.
    • Candelaria Nature Preserve - North (Beginning at the Woodward House)
    • Candelaria Nature Preserve - South (Beginning at the Rio Grande Nature Center parking lot)
    • Construction Notice - Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority will begin construction beginning Feb. 22, 2019, that will affect the intersection of Rio Grande and Candelaria. Travel to, from, and around the Candelaria Nature Preserve will be affected.
      View detour information.
  • Public Meeting #2 – Option Consideration – June 22, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. at Woodward House.
    Download a flyer for the June 22 meeting
  • Public Meeting #3 – Preferred Option Consideration – Sept. 11, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Rio Grande Nature Center