When Mike Plant first set foot on the 5,700 breathtakingly beautiful acres of Northern New Mexico that would become Canyon Ridge, he knew he had found a gem.
“I’m blessed, I’ve been around a lot of beauty, and anyone who spends a day and touches a mere sliver of Canyon Ridge will tell you it is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” says Plant, a lifelong outdoorsman who also happens to be an executive vice president with the Atlanta Braves.
“It’s where I go to get away, to be immersed in nature, to get energized,” Plant says, adding, “You can hike for miles and miles, ride a horse or mountain bike, cross country ski, and enjoy unbelievable hunting and fishing.”
Overlooking the Chama River Valley in Northern New Mexico, Canyon Ridge is a one-of-a-kind conservation community featuring ranch estates ranging in size from 10 to 60 acres. Slated to open in the summer of 2012, each of Canyon Ridge’s 80 lucky owners will have access to an additional 4,000 acres that have been set aside in a permanent conservation easement.
“It’s doing all things little and big — whether it’s putting the majority of the land in conservation, developing a recreational management plan with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, or little things like allowing snowmobiles and only electric ATVs on roads and not trails — that make this one very special place,” Plant says.
I myself was surprised to find out that Canyon Ridge is only the second development ever approved for a conservation easement by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
This type of long-range planning is part of Plant’s big-picture approach to Canyon Ridge. With $17 million already invested and nearly 40 ranch estates slated to be ready this summer, he has made it clear to his Northern New Mexico neighbors that he is putting his money where its mouth is.
“We were the first to get a master plan approved in Rio Arriba County,” Plant points out, “and we did it because we didn’t do anything under the table. We said, ‘Here’s what we’re doing and not doing, and our top priorities are to preserve the heritage of the land and its wildlife inhabitants, and to provide jobs to local and regional people.’
“I learned a long time ago to respect other cultures and heritages,” Plant adds. “These people know I’m not the big guy in a suit from Atlanta. They can see my boots weren’t just pulled out of a box.”
Got to like that.