Preserve chooses Baca kin

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By Roger Snodgrass

The Valles Caldera Trust has named Lucia M. Sandoval Turner to be its acting executive director.

She will serve in the position vacated by previous executive director, Jeffrey Cross, who resigned last month.

“The Trust is very fortunate to have someone with Ms. Turner’s experience,” said Trust chair Bill Kelleher.

Turner retired in February 2008 after 42 years as a civil servant, including the last 16 years with the forest service regional office in Albuquerque and most recently, as deputy regional forester for the southwestern region.

She is a direct descendant of Don Luis Maria Cabaza de Vaca.

In the 19th century, he was the original patent-holder for the land that was known as the Baca Ranch before it was purchased by the federal government in 2000 and became the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

In her resume, she expressed “a personal desire to ensure the sustainability and pristine nature of the Trust (Baca Ranch) for future generations.”

Kelleher said Sandoval is very familiar with the preserve and worked with the forest service getting it ready to turn over to the trust.

He said the fact that she lives in Albuquerque and is able to go to work in a week was another factor in her favor.