The Santa Fe Conservation Trust was founded in 1993 to assist the citizens of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County as well as the citizens of San Miguel and Rio Arriba counties to preserve their cultural and historic land heritage. The land in Northern New Mexico has some of the most historic settlement patterns in the United States, both pre and post Columbian.

The Rio Grande, Santa Fe, Galisteo, and Pecos river valleys were the sites of many Indian Pueblos. Some of the Pueblos and their lands are still to be found in the same location while others have since disappeared. The Pueblo Indian communities have left an indelible imprint on our culture and customs. There are many areas in the three counties which are rich in Pueblo archaeological sites. We are committed to their preservation in cooperation with current land owners.

These same river valleys were settled after 1598 by Spanish families which brought another cultural layer, language, and traditions. The traditions of Andalusia and Galicia live on in northern New Mexico because of the tenacity and hard work of those Spanish descendents who have cared for and nourished the land over the last four hundred years.

Together with the Native American culture, the Spanish culture has made New Mexico a unique state with a cultural heritage found in no other state. Later migrations from the rest of the United States, Mexico, Central and South America have added to the cultural diversity and richness to be found in Northern New Mexico today.


The Trust has now been in existence for over 20 years. The foremost purpose of any land trust is to protect its easements in perpetuity. While attaining that goal, we are also working hard for recognition of the SFCT name in our community. The long term continuation of the trust is dependant upon community support. Please see our Contact Us link for ways you can contribute to the Trust.

Remembering Dale Ball

Dale Ball, circa 1998

Dale Ball, circa 1998

May 20, 1924 to February 14, 2016

Dale was known for his talent as an articulate and masterful negotiator who was stunningly successful at turning his ideas into reality by collaborating with others to achieve his visionary goals. As the first Executive Director of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, from 1993-1999, he closed on almost 30 conservation easements, preserving 18,112 acres – a total land area greater than similar land trusts in Texas and Arizona combined. Arrangements were made for more than a dozen miles of a Rail Trail paralleling the train tracks running from downtown Santa Fe to the village of Lamy. Key segments of the Historic Santa Fe Trail were protected. Plans for trails near the new bypass Highway 599 were laid.

“What Dale Ball has accomplished in six short years is nothing short of amazing. He deserves the thanks of the entire community.”
~ Stewart Udall

Reflecting on his work with the Santa Fe Conservation Trust and the Dale Ball Trail System, Dale said:

“I had a dream that Santa Fe would become a hiking center.”