Aldo Leopold (1887 – 1948) is considered the father of modern wildlife ecology and he spent many years of his life in New Mexico, leaving behind an environmental legacy. He began his professional career in 1909 when he joined the U.S. Forest Service.
Among his many accomplishments are the creation of the Gila Wilderness near Silver City (the first proclaimed Wilderness area in the U.S.) and the foundation of the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation. Leopold had a special love for Albuquerque, and strongly advocated for the responsible growth of the city when he served as Secretary of Albuquerque’s Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Estella lived in a home and created a visionary garden near the Rio Grande off of 14thand Central.
At this time, Leopold also promoted the creation of what would later become the Rio Grande Valley State Park. His vision and efforts eventually lead to the creation of the Rio Grande Zoological Park, Botanic Gardens, and the Rio Grande Nature Center.
The Aldo Leopold Forest was dedicated on Feb. 15, 2009. This forest is approximately 53 acres in size, extending from the north boundary of the Nature Center to the southeast side of the Montaño Bridge. There are naturally surfaced trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians on this beautifully maintained trail system, with signage along the way honoring Leopold’s legacy in New Mexico and promoting his vision of an ethical relationship with the land.
Please read a few of Mr. Leopold’s quotes from the signage along the trail –
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.
Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
We at Natural Burial New Mexico believe in treating the land with love and respect and in preserving the integrity and beauty of La Puerta Natural Burial Ground.
Thank you to all of you who share in our vision and have chosen La Puerta as a final resting place for yourselves and your loved ones. We are truly honored, and pledge to you that we will continue to cherish La Puerta as “a fountain of energy that flows through the soil, plants, and animals”, and your loved ones buried there.
Linda Canyon, 8/3/2018