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Old Santa Fe Trail Building Cultural Landscape Inventory and Report

Location: Santa Fe, NM

Completed: 2011

The Old Santa Fe Trail Building (OSFTB) and its grounds were designed by the National Park Service and constructed between 1937 and 1941 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. The building and its grounds were built in the ‘Spanish-Pueblo Revival’ style with detailed planting plans for the interior courtyards and naturalized plantings in parking lots and the surrounding site. It was built to serve as the new Region III Headquarters for the National Park Service, a function it still serves today.

In the 1990s, MRWM conducted a Cultural Landscape Inventory for this historic building. After completing a new, detailed site analysis, and using the information from the previous report, MRWM completed Parts One and Two of a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) for this historic building.

The CLR graphically identified all contributing landscape characteristics and, in coordination with other management requirements, determined specific rehabilitation and restoration guidelines for landscape elements throughout the site.

The CLR also addressed the following subject areas as defined by a 2001 General Management Plan for the OSFTB:

  • vegetation and planting design
  • vehicle circulation and signage
  • wildland fire
  • recreational use of grounds
  • irrigation and water conservation.

The site is significant because of its association with the regional revival of architectural traditions, and because of its association with the 1930s National Park Service design tenets such as “Government Rustic style”.

Carlito Springs Open Space CLR and Trail Development

Location: Bernalillo County, NM

Completed: 2012 and 2014

Bernalillo County’s Carlito Springs Open Space is 179 acres of mostly undeveloped land located near the Village of Tijeras in the foothills of the Sandia Mountain range. The site was first settled as a homestead in 1891 and has since served as a resort, a camp, a boys’ school, a tuberculosis sanatorium and a private residence. The historic features of the site include several buildings, an orchard, a spring, ponds, fountains, ornamental gardens and trails.

MRWM completed a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) for the Open Space in 2012. The CLR included a phased master plan and an opinion of probable costs for site improvements that would allow public access while preserving the historic qualities of the site. MRWM later worked with the County to design a three-quarter mile sustainable natural surface trail, trailhead and parking lot. Loris & Associates were contracted to consult on the trail and pedestrian bridge design.

The trail met the standards of the International Mountain Biking Association and caused minimal site disturbance. The low impact design of the trail worked with the site’s natural topography and features, avoiding sensitive archaeological sites while directing users to significant historic and natural features. The project also included a trail head, parking area and pedestrian bridges where the trail crosses a creek.

MRWM also worked with a team to build a spring box to protect the natural spring that is the only water source for the Open Space. Knowledge gained from completing the Cultural Landscape Report allowed recommendations to be made on how to best integrate the spring box with the site. Importantly, the historic look and feel of the site was respected while allowing modern technology to protect and manage the site’s water source.

Petroglyph National Monument Visitor Use Plan

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Completed: 2010

MRWM coordinated with Monument staff to develop a Visitor Use Plan and Trail Plan for Petroglyph National Monument. The work included detailed site analysis using an existing trail survey; a thorough review of existing literature; and coordination with the National Park Service, local tribes, and the general public.

The number of visitors at the Monument had increased beyond its design capacity, resulting in many unsanctioned 'desire paths', increased erosion along existing trails and general degradation of the landscape.

MRWM assessed the overall health of the Monument and the state of the trail network, and identified major factors affecting its poor condition. A Visitor Use Plan was developed that incorporated recommendations to restore damaged parts of the trail network and to mitigate the increased pressure on the Monument’s resources.

The plan allows the Monument to accommodate its increased number of visitors while protecting its character and cultural treasures.

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Completed: Abo: 1998. Quarai: 1998, Gran Quivira 2012

MRWM produced Cultural Landscape Inventories (CLI) for the Abo, Quarai, and Gran Quivira Units of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument for the National Park Service.

The CLI included:

  • documentation of cultural landscape features
  • identification ofassociations with the relevant historic periods
  • explanation of the cultural significance
  • preparation of a written and graphic analysis of the landscapes

The information in cultural landscape inventories is used to assist park management in interpreting the history of the park and planning for long term management of park resources. Mr. Baker Morrow served as Principal in Charge for these projects.

Santa Fe Plaza Cultural Landscape Report and Renovation

Location: Santa Fe, NM

Completed: CLR: 2005; Phases I and II of Renovations: 2008

Established in 1610, the Santa Fe Plaza is a National Historic Landmark and the geographical heart and cultural soul of Santa Fe, NM. It is filled to capacity with residents and tourists during its many festivals and markets, and is surrounded by historic buildings with a lively arts, performance and restaurant scene. Such popularity brings heavy use and wear, and proposals were made address the questions of repair and restoration.

MRWM was consulted to conduct a historic landscape architectural assessment regarding the appropriateness of proposed restoration elements for limited improvements to the Plaza.  A full Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) was produced to inform any future design proposals for improvements or alterations to the Plaza.

 The success of the CLR was founded on a comprehensive public involvement process. MRWM worked closely with stakeholders, multiple government agencies and local business owners to create community consensus for the suitable course of action for Plaza restoration. 

With the findings of the report, MRWM was asked to perform full design services for two phases of landscape improvements to the Plaza, including a complete irrigation system redesign and practices to handle intense public use.

The improvements that were introduced helped to maintain the historic character and integrity of the Plaza, while increasing ease of maintenance, public safety, and aesthetic quality. 

In 2009, the Cultural Properties Review Committee awarded MRWM with a Heritage Preservation Award for the Santa Fe Plaza Cultural Landscape Report.