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About Truchas Land Grant

Overview of the Nuestra Señora del Rosario San Fernando y Santiago Land Grant (Truchas Land Grant)

The Truchas Land Grant was established in 1754 by twelve individuals from the communities of Córdova (historically known as Quemado), and Chimayo.  These individuals lacked sufficient farm and grazing land in their communities and worked together to construct a defensible plaza, a church, and digging the community water system – the acequia.  By the end of the Mexican Period, the Truchas Land Grant supported several hundred families and was a significant producer of a high mountain variety of wheat traded across the southwest.

In 1848, New Mexico became part of the United States, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was to protect the property rights of Mexican citizens in the ceded Mexican territory.  The Truchas Land Grant had to file a claim with the US Government and was more successful than other Land Grants in receiving patent to communal lands, the Land Grant lost approximately 8,000 acres in the process.   Today, the Truchas Land Grant is composed of approximately 14,000 acres, 4,000 in private lands, and approximately 10,000 of common land.

The Truchas Land Grant is located on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and ranges in elevation from approximately 6,800 feet on the western boundary of the grant to 10,200 feet on the eastern boundary.  The Land Grant has two small streams that are the headwaters of the Santa Cruz River, which is a major tributary of the Rio Grande.  The two rivers are know as the Rio Quemado and the Rio de Truchas.  The Rio Quemado flows on the south portion of the Land Grant and flows through the town of Córdova, until the river connects with Rio Santa Cruz in the Town of Chimayo.  The Rio de Truchas flows on the Northern portion of the grant and has surface water flow until the river reaches gravel type soils in the San Sebastian Martin Grant just west of the Town of Velarde.

The river sources provide for acequia surface water that is used for irrigation in Truchas, Córdova, and Chimayo.  There is an estimated 1,600 acres of irrigated farmland in the Village of Truchas.  The Village of Córdova, which is located in a tight narrow canon, has historically irrigated only small gardens and small acreage (approximately 200 acres of farmland) due to the features of the landscape.

The natural habitats of the Land Grant are diverse due to the elevation change within the boundaries of the grant.  The grant supports piñon-juniper and piñon woodland forest on the western portion of the grant, and transitions to Ponderosa Pine forest and spruce-fir forest on the eastern side of the grant.  Directly east of the Land Grant is Pecos Wilderness Area, managed by the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests.  Some of the highest peaks in New Mexico – Truchas Peak & Jicarilla Peak – are located just a few miles of the Land Grant boundaries.  Many Land Grant members utilize the common lands and the wilderness area for hunting, fishing and medicinal plant gathering.

Truchas Land Grant & surrounding public land supports extensive and diverse wildlife including elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, over 150 species of birds, and native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout – one of the last areas of New Mexico with a native trout population.

Just 45 minutes from Santa Fe, on the Scenic Byway High Road to Taos, the Truchas Land Grant offers a broad range of recreational opportunities from exploring the historic plazas  to accessing some of the most scenic and wild parts of  New Mexico and the Sangre de Cristo mountains.