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Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico

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A nature park, sparked by tribal elders, is one step closer to becoming a reality on the southern edge of Albuquerque. The state Land Office and the U.S. Department of Energy have agreed on a 99-year lease for the 2,800 acres. State Land Commissioner Ray Powell plans to use the land to create La Semilla Nature Park, a nature refuge and environmental education campus, "something nobody else in the world is doing" in a metropolitan area. Powell said he envisioned La Semilla listening to elders talk about their close relationship with the land. La Semilla, or "the seed" in Spanish, would occupy a strip of land one mile wide by 4.5 miles long along the eastern edge of Mesa del Sol ? a 12,400-acre parcel held in trust by the state Land Office for the benefit of the University of New Mexico and state public schools. It's primary goal is to act as a buffer between Kirtland AFB and Mesa del Sol. The McCormick Ranch Interpretive Site would be used to learn modern farming and ranching techniques and rangeland reclamation. There would be an ecological field station, horticultural research center and renewable energy research and demonstration area. The master plan now goes before the Albuquerque Planning Commission.

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