Forest Service buys piece of Miranda Canyon near Taos

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The Trust for Public Land has announced the transfer of 1,742 acres in Miranda Canyon to the U.S. Forest Service.

The area south of Taos, formerly owned by Weimer Properties, was the proposed site for a 150-home subdivision that was denied by Taos County in 2009.

The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization, announced plans to purchase the property early in 2011, intending to convey it to the Forest Service in order to expand the boundaries of Carson National Forest.

The purchase has the support of U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, and Tom Udall, D-NM, as well as U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

This transfer, at a cost of about $3.4 million, represents the first phase of the purchase of the 5,000-acre Miranda Canyon property, according to information from the Trust for Public Land. The funding, which originated with mineral leases, came through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“We think this is a great fit for the Carson, close to Taos and with so many beautiful features,” acting Carson forest supervisor Diana Trujillo is quoted as saying in an announcement. “We look forward to working with the local community and others to determine the best way to manage and use this unique area.”

Miranda Canyon will be open for hunting, camping, hiking and horseback riding, according to the Trust for Public Land. The Forest Service is looking for nearly $2.7 million to fund the next phase of the purchase.

For more information about the Trust for Public Land, visit www.tpl.org. For more information about Carson National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/carson

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