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Release Date: 01/18/13
Contacts: Donna Hummel, 505-954-2018    
  Tom Gow, 505-761-797    

Pueblo of Zia, BIA, and BLM Complete Unique Land Sale

Albuquerque, NM – The Pueblo of Zia and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) recently completed the purchase of about 11,000 acres of public land from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The lands are adjacent to the Ojito Wilderness Area, a high desert landscape of wide open spaces and exceptional beauty about an hour northwest of Albuquerque.
This area has significant ancestral ties to the Pueblo of Zia. The lands involved in the sale are now part of the Pueblo’s reservation but will remain open to public uses. This unique arrangement is the result of the legislation that created the Wilderness Area. 
Under the Ojito Wilderness Act of 2005, the Pueblo will maintain the land as open space and the natural characteristics shall be preserved in perpetuity. The Act also provided for continued public access to the area, “for recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, paleontological and conservation uses…as adopted by the Pueblo and approved by the Secretary of the Interior”. This is the first of its kind arrangement in New Mexico where Pueblo land remains open to the public.
“We’ve been happy to work closely with the Pueblo of Zia and the BIA to return these ancestral lands to their people while still allowing the public access to high value resource lands previously managed by the BLM,” said Jesse Juen, State Director of the BLM in New Mexico.
Peter Pino, Tribal Administrator of the Pueblo of Zia, added, "The Pueblo of Zia appreciates the efforts of all the individuals and entities that made this land transfer a reality.  We look forward to managing this transferred property in a manner that is beneficial to all members and non-members.  This unique situation will provide us with an opportunity to learn and explore methods of establishing and building partnerships and working relationships."
 “We are extremely excited to see the Pueblo of Zia Recreation Trust Lands become a reality”, said William T. Walker, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southwest Regional Director. “This process is a model of sound collaboration and consultation between the Pueblo of Zia, Federal agencies and the general public”.
Regulations regarding public use of these Pueblo lands are posted at access sites and also available on the BLM website ( and at the BLM Offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 01-18-2013