Arturo Sandoval’s family has been in New Mexico since at least 1715. “All of my ancestors lived and died here for several centuries, so I feel a deep attachment to the peoples and places of New Mexico,” he says.
Sandoval, a prominent Latino community leader, is president of the Center of Southwest Culture in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His community leadership stems from his connection to the land.
“Place raised me,” Arturo continues. “I grew up within a few hundred feet of the Santa Clara Tribe’s reservation. All of it was undeveloped and unspoiled landscape. I spent countless hours and days roaming freely. For a child, this was paradise. That created within me a deep tie to landscapes and huge skies and deeply-starred nights. It is a love affair that has remained constant and unbroken all of my life.”
Especially in New Mexico, where we have vast sightlines and magnificent views, the thought of losing my favorite places is simply unimaginable.
Arturo spends time in summer on a small plot of forest land in the village in northern New Mexico where his grandfather homesteaded in the 1870s. In addition to camping and hiking, Arturo enjoys sitting around a campfire telling stories and star-gazing with his children and grandchildren. “Some of our most cherished memories as a family are based on our communal time together at 9,000 feet camping out under the stars next to the Carson National Forest.”
“I developed strong ties to place and have chosen to spend my life here trying to add value to our communities.” Born and raised in rural northern New Mexico, Arturo now lives in Albuquerque. He is founder and president of the Center of Southwest Culture, a non-profit center dedicated to improving the lives of underserved Mexicano and Native American communities in the greater southwest through economic development and cultural education programs.
“Wilderness and wild places provide me with a deep appreciation of the earth and its incredible variety of life,” Arturo explains. “Being out in wilderness connects me deeply to my own humanity and to my connection to all living things. I feel small but important in the cycle of life whenever I spend any significant amount of time outdoors.”
Needless to say, Arturo sees wilderness as vital. “Especially in New Mexico, where we have vast sightlines and magnificent views, the thought of losing my favorite places is simply unimaginable.”
You can help protect New Mexico's wilderness. For a small donation you can become a Wilderness Society member.