BLM seeks public comment on proposed Ohkay Owingeh land exchange


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Taos Field Office

Media Contact:

New Mexico Press Room

TAOS, N.M. – The Bureau of Land Management today began a 45-day comment period to gather public input on a proposal to exchange up to 1,735 acres of public lands important to the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo for 84 acres along the Rio Nutrias containing significant natural and cultural resources in Rio Arriba County. The comment period will end Nov. 5, 2023.                                                                        

The public lands proposed for exchange are part of the Palacio Arroyos Special Recreation Management Area, located adjacent to the eastern boundary of Ohkay Owingeh, near the City of Española. The exchange would expand Ohkay Owingeh Tribal boundaries and allow the Tribe to acquire traditional lands and other natural resources important to Pueblo culture and heritage.    

Ohkay Owingeh is proposing to exchange its fee lands along the Rio Nutrias in the Chama Canyons Area of Critical Environmental Concern, which contains significant cultural resources, riparian resources, springs, wildlife habitat and other values. The exchange would increase visitor access to public lands and protect important cultural and natural resource values along Rio Nutrias, a tributary of the Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River.    

The BLM will evaluate this proposal through robust public involvement and an environmental assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.   

The BLM plans to host one virtual and two in-person public scoping meetings to discuss the proposed land exchange:   

  • Oct. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Ohkay Convention Center, 340 HWY. 68 Ohkay Owingeh, NM 87566  
  • Oct. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Ohkay Convention Center, 340 HWY. 68 Ohkay Owingeh, NM 87566  
  • Oct. 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m. virtual meeting via Zoom; please register to attend.   

You may submit comments may be submitted by clicking “Participate Now” on the BLM National NEPA Register (preferred) or mail comments to Bureau of Land Management, Attn: Brad Higdon, 1024 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM 87571   For more information on the environmental assessment and plan amendment process, please contact Project Manager Brad Higdon at 575-751-4725 or

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.