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Tijeras Bio-Zone

Learn about the Tijeras Arroyo Biological Zone and current Open Space projects

Tijeras Arroyo Biological Zone Resource Management Plan

The Tijeras Arroyo is nestled between the Sandia and Manzano Mountains and encompasses a rich living history and diversity of vegetation, including large Cottonwood trees and willows. In 2014, the City of Albuquerque adopted a Resource Management Plan for the Tijeras Arroyo Biological Zone (Bio-Zone) due to its significance as a sensitive riparian area that provides critical habitat and a corridor for wildlife; aquifer recharge and tributary to the Rio Grande; and major historical and cultural site that connects Albuquerque to the East Mountains and larger grassland of the Great Plains to the east. The plan is available online.

The plan outlines the area’s importance and makes a case for why the City should prioritize a 3.7-mile stretch of the Tijeras Arroyo for acquisition and designation as a Major Public Open Space. Additionally, this area was included in City Council Resolution R-16-12, which prioritized significant areas to purchase for protection. Since 2018, the City has acquired 170 acres identified in these processes. The two most recent acquisitions include a historic 8.4-acre parcel that will be co-managed with the Cañón de Carnué Land Grant and the 25-acre home of the in-progress Tijeras Bio-Zone Center. The Center will enable the City to engage youth and families in meaningful programs connected to the Bio-Zone. This work has already begun in partnership with Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District. 

This corridor historically and currently serves as a nexus of movement for vital resources and cultural exchanges to and from Albuquerque and now includes the historic Route 66 and Interstate 40. Preserving this area allows us to protect and celebrate the stories, culture, and traditions of the East Mountains communities irrevocably intertwined with Albuquerque and the unique riparian environment supporting abundant wildlife.

Tijeras Bio-Zone Center: Planning and Restoration Efforts Underway

The Open Space Division is working with community partners and Pland Collaborative to develop a community-driven site plan for this property focused on appropriate use for low-impact outdoor recreation and education that supports people with different needs and abilities. Pland Collaborative has completed a survey and site analysis of the property. The City will host a public meeting at the site to get input on the site plan on October 14, 2023 from 1-3 p.m.

Site analysis/Existing conditions


The Open Space Division and Ciudad Soil and Conservation District (CIUDAD) support public programming and land restoration at the Tijeras Bio-Zone Center. CIUDAD was awarded three grants totaling $581,531 to implement stream restoration and floodplain improvements and to design and construct an ADA trail at the Tijeras Bio-Zone Center. Additional partners the Open Space Division works with include Talking Talons, who leads youth programs, including workshops and camps; AMP Concerts, who host free community concerts; and numerous groups, including youth crews and Volunteers for the Outdoors, who help with restoration and trail-building projects. The Open Space Division and partners also offer guided tours upon request and will start monthly tours for the general public.

To learn more about how to get involved or volunteer, contact [email protected] or call 505-768-4200.

Route 66 Open Space: Planned Public Access

The Open Space Division is working with Consensus Planning to design a trailhead and public parking at the Route 66 Open Space, which will include equestrian parking, an accessible hilltop trail, interpretive signage, shade structures, and other amenities. This is a major trailhead to a trail that extends to Manzano Four-Hills and throughout the Tijeras Bio-Zone. The site plan will be presented to EPC in the fall of 2023, and construction is estimated to begin in 2024.

Draft site plan construction drawing

Tijeras Creek Cultural Corridor Plan

The City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and partners are preparing the Tijeras Creek Cultural Corridor Plan (Plan) that will cover a geographic area spanning portions of the Tijeras Creek watershed starting at the Singing Arrow Community Center and archaeological site heading east to include the Carnué Land Grant, Village of Tijeras, and Bernalillo County Open Space as shown on the following context maps.

A PNG of the TCCC Context Map: West.

A PNG of the TCCC Context Map: East.

The Plan will be a guiding document that will help the City and other jurisdictions identify cultural and biological themes, planning priorities, and natural resource and cultural management objectives for trail building, interpretive signage, and other planning and implementation requirements.

The current phase of the project includes public outreach and engagement to gather feedback from local community members and visitors to determine what information on the area’s rich cultural, historical, biological, and geologic information to be included in any future improvements.

Public Input Open House

An Open House was held to gather public input on the following project initiatives:

  • Open Space and Trail Maps
  • Interpretive Signage Detail Options
  • Branding and Logo Options
  • Interpretive Themes
  • Outline of Tijeras Creek Cultural Corridor Plan

A 20-30 minute presentation providing an introduction and context summary of the project was given at 11:00am and 12:30pm. Project representatives were available to answer questions and record public comments. View the presentation slides.

Mission Statement:
“Protect the living cultural landscape of the Tijeras Watershed for current and future generations by creating a sense of place through oral histories, landscape, and relationships between land, animals, water, and people.”

Goal Statements:
1. Improve access for all community members and visitors while ensuring conservation of wildlife, native plants, soil and water resources.

2. Include opportunities for cultural education and tie the area’s oral history to locations and landscapes through a variety of interpretive avenues including signage, trails, exhibits, brochures, and more in-depth online resources.
3. Foster stewardship and inspire younger generations to be good stewards of the local ecosystem to include land, plants, animals, cultural resources, and water.

4. Consider improvements that protect the land and water from both natural and man-made impacts.

5. Provide a sustainable trail network for low impact recreation opportunities.

6. Conserve the archeological and cultural resources in the watershed for education and research.
For more information during the planning phase of the project please contact Shawna Ballay with Consensus Planning at 505-764-9801.