Albuquerque is a city of crossroads and cultures. Located at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains, at the edge of the Great Plains, and in the high desert along the banks of the Rio Grande, it is the junction where historic Camino Real crosses venerable Route 66. Although officially founded as a Spanish Colonial villa in 1706, native people have lived in the Albuquerque area for over 10,000 years. Thousands of ancient petroglyphs are testimony to the endurance of today's pueblo peoples. Explorer Francisco Vazquez de Coronado overwintered his famed expedition here in 1540–1542. Albuquerque has been a boomtown several times, from the coming of the railroad to its role as a health mecca, and from postwar urban growth to recent sunbelt immigration. This mile-high city has always attracted outdoor enthusiasts, as this chronicle of its parks and magnificent open space system attests. Contributions of Aldo Leopold, Clyde Tingley, Harry Kinney, and many community activists have melded with native and Hispanic traditions to create a place unlike any other.
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