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Albuquerque's Open Space - the New Wave of City Parks


  The Open Space Visitor Center / image courtesy the City of Albuquerque

Albuquerque is a city to be outside in. With numerous bike paths, walking trails, gyms and other recreation facilities, the city was ranked as the fittest city in the United States by Men's Fitness Magazine in 2007.

What makes Albuquerque really special, though, is not the 2,700 some odd acres of municipal park land, but the more than 28,000 acres of Open Space land that the city maintains.

The biggest difference between city parks and open space is that open space is not landscaped, but is kept in a natural state. Open Space lands are maintained by the city and patrolled by the police department and they are also designated as protected areas for low impact recreation.

Many of Albuquerque's Open Space areas sit along the edges of the city. There is a long swath of Open Space that runs along the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, and most of the West Mesa is protected Open Space area, including Volcanos National Park, Boca Negra Canyon and Piedras Marcadas Canyon.

The Open Space Visitor Center is the main facility for the program, home to a wealth of public information about Albuquerque's Open Space land. It is also a function space, art gallery and exhibition hall, and offers viewing areas for the Sandhill Cranes and other birds during migration season.

There is no end to the number of interesting things going on at the Open Space Visitor Center. From Sunday morning yoga ("Yoga with a View" - sounds great to me!) to new exhibits, gardening demonstrations and art exhibitions, it seems there is always something going on. And really, the Center is a wonderful place to go just to enjoy its fantastic views of the Sandia Mountains.

The Open Space Visitor Center is located east of Coors Blvd. at the end of Bosque Meadows Rd. which is between Montano Blvd. and Paseo del Norte. Open Tuesday - Sunday, 9 AM - 5 PM.