The New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance originated in 1995, spearheaded by a former NM State Historic Preservation Officer who saw more and more communities around the State seeking to protect their heritage. This former SHPO, along with dedicated citizens and organizations, all committed to preserving the rich history and diverse cultures of New Mexico, formed the Alliance.
During the formative first three years, the organizing board dedicated grassroots work to reaching out across the State. They met both in urban and rural areas listening to the concerns of citizens and, in turn, board members offered preservation guidance and resource services, depending on the requests of the community. The Alliance commenced promoting preservation legislation in 1996 with the passing of SECTION 106, which requires the State or private owners “prove no prudent and feasible alternatives exist when a significant resource will be altered by a new project or development”. The Alliance then organized the State’s first Most Endangered Places List in 1998, by collecting community-based projects which were historically and culturally significant but imminently endangered of being lost forever. By 1999 the Alliance established a statewide annual preservation conference program for New Mexico.
The Alliance focused on New Mexico’s most critical threats by addressing issues such as encroachment and development on archeological sites, the care, and maintenance of adobe structures, the loss of Historic Manhattan Project sites, and threats to cultural resources such as the Night Sky.
As repercussions from the nationwide 2008 Recession took their toll the Alliance lost its Executive Director and staff which led to the trickling off of its major public programs. Since the last annual conference in 2013, a small dedicated volunteer board has held on and is making a slow and strategic resurgent comeback by recognizing a new age for new tactics to fulfill the mission of preserving New Mexico’s enchantment.