Santa Fe County owns an expensive ranch near La Cienega, but officials still don't know what to do with it. Several dozen people showed up for a tour of La Bajada ranch last week. The county purchased the 470 acres of pristine property from Santa Fe Canyon Ranch LLC for $7 million in 2009 amid a contentious battle about proposed development there. It was first opened to the public on Nov. 23.

Mark Hogan, division director for projects and facilities at Santa Fe County, took SFR for a short walking tour through the beautiful hills and creeks of the property, whose few blemishes include an underground gas pipeline, barbed wire fences, invasive Russian Olives and the din of traffic from nearby Interstate 25.

The county has identified 265 acres of the ranch as unsuitable for development and useable for conservation; 60 acres as the best location for development; and 145 acres as suitable for development with restrictions. A large home with a swimming pool also sits on the land. Officials are collecting input from residents about how to put the property to use. Fill out a comment form at

"This whole ranch has sort of been like a big Velcro board where people are just, you know, throwing different possibilities at it, coming up with ideas" Hogan says.  (Justin Horwath)