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Jemez-area ranch purchase to expand Santa Fe National Forest

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  The federal government plans to purchase a private ranch in the Jemez River Valley to expand the Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico. Officials said the acquisition of the 3.1 square miles will both protect land rich in natural and cultural resources and provide public access to areas of the forest currently difficult to reach. The land consists of two parcels on both sides of the river and is nestled between spires of volcanic tuff and red rock mesas. The parcels are within the congressionally designated Jemez National Recreation Area. Forest managers estimate the sale will close in the coming year.