The north side of the property, including sections of the parking lot, are currently under construction. The property is still open to visitors; however, visitors must stay out of active construction zones.
The land that now comprises the Durand Open Space was owned by the Durand family for approximately 100 years and was farmed in alfalfa and used as permanent pasture. In the mid-1950s, the property was put into use as a landing strip for single- and twin-engine airplanes. Known by residents and pilots as the “P-Patch”, the landing strip and an adjoining hanger were used to conduct aircraft repair and restoration. The landing strip was closed in the 1970s when large transmission power lines were installed north of the property. Following the closure, the property reverted to agriculture. In 1999, the Durand family sold the 10-acre property to Bernalillo County as open space to preserve the property from development.
Planning and Management:
In 2002, Bernalillo County adopted the Community Planning Report and Recommendations for the Pajarito and Durand and Pajarito Open Spaces. This planning document supported public access for equestrians, pedestrians and bicyclists, both to the bosque and to trails on the property. Continued agricultural production and providing habitat for migratory birds were also emphasized.
From the time it became county open space, contract farmers have assisted the county by growing a variety of crops including alfalfa, millet, triticale, oats, wheat, sorghum and teff grass. These crops attract numerous bird species including songbirds, predatory birds, cranes, geese and even pheasants. Additionally, many native trees and shrubs enhance the property, including serviceberry, plum and cottonwoods.
In 2011, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) completed construction of the Los Padillas Spillway that hugs the north boundary of the Durand Open Space. This drainage structure helps direct drainage flows from throughout the South Valley to the Rio Grande while also providing a crossing from the parking area to the bosque.
Currently, visitors can enjoy a 0.6-mile perimeter walking trail around the scenic fields complete with picnic tables and benches. Bernalillo County is also in the process of extending this trail around the southernmost field. It will be designated ADA compliant.
Bernalillo County Open Space completed a site plan for the north section of the property in 2012. The plan calls for improvements to the parking area, including horse trailer and designated vehicle parking spaces. In the northwest section of the property, a community gathering space with additional tables, benches, a shade structure, and wooden sculptures will be created. Additional native trees, shrubs and grasses will be planted at this site. Finally, the county will develop and install three interpretive signs, including a memorial to the Durand family. Improvements are scheduled to be completed by the spring, 2013. The Open Space staff and partners are also working on a South Valley Bird Guide and will host a Bird Festival for the public on April, 27, 2013.