The Big Tesuque, a mountain basin above Santa Fe, N.M., may yet be saved from ski area development.
Expansion of the Santa Fe Ski Area into the
basin had seemed like a sure bet. Despite vocal opposition from
Santa Fe locals, Santa Fe Forest Supervisor Al Defler approved the
plan last December (HCN, 2/19/96). But after hearing an appeal this
month, Regional Forester Charles Cartwright ordered Defler to
reconsider his ruling based on the area's religious significance to
nearby Indian pueblos.
"The Abruzzos (the family
who owns the ski area) are in shock," says Victor Martinez, an
opponent of the ski expansion. "And the community of Santa Fe is
really happy today."
It's a rare move for an
agency that typically approves ski expansions. "I'm a little
bewildered," says Defler. "But now we've gotten over that and we're
going to reanalyze it."
Forester Charles Cartwright directed Defler to do two things:
reconsider the expansion in light of the area's importance to
Native Americans, and ensure that the ski area has ample water
rights to meet any future development. Although Defler could
technically reissue his earlier ruling, he probably won't approve
an expansion that includes the Big Tesuque; if opponents appeal
Defler's decision a second time, the regional office will have the