Skip to main content

Richard G. Illing papers concerning the Ellis Forest Loop Road and the Sandia Mountains

Identifier: MSS-818-BC

Scope and Content

The collection contains a scrapbook created by Illing's family to honor his achievements. It also includes articles, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs and maps associated with Richard G. Illing's fight to keep the Sandia Mountains in the Cibola National Forest from being overdeveloped. The Ellis Loop Forest Highway is a central theme of the collection and includes a paper written about the road. There are also various articles pertaining to forest conservation issues and correspondence with other environmentally active groups like the National Wildlife Federation, Save our Sylvania Action Committee (SOSAC), the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Association, and the Albuquerque Wildlife Conservation Association as well as individual environmentalists concerned about the Sandia Mountains. Also included are materials from Las Placitas Association relating to the proposed highway and other land development issues. The collection also includes the notebook of Donald Waskey, who lived at the nearby commune of Manera Nueva in 1970, donated by the Illing family in September 2023.


  • 1950s-1990
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1974


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biography / History

Richard G. Illing came to New Mexico in the 1950s. He settled his family in Albuquerque and later moved to El Rancho de San Francisco in Placitas, N.M. The family enjoyed ranch life and the Sandia Mountains. When his daughter, Lynne, died in an accident her ashes were scattered on the eastern slope of the Sandias. In part as a memorial to Lynne, Richard became a devoted advocate for the environmental protection and preservation of the Sandia Mountains. He was especially vocal and energetic in his opposition to the U.S. Forest Service proposed construction of the Ellis Loop Forest Highway, which originally was to be a skyline highway from the Sandia Crest, north along the crest line ending in Placitas. Illing with other environmentalists felt that such a road would destroy the natural beauty of the mountain, its forests and wildlife. The highway would also have adverse effects on the Placitas community water resources and create hazards from increased highway traffic. Illing was active in the Las Placitas Association and served as president in 1973. The association was formed to organize community members in an effort protect their local environment. In testament to his determination to protect the Sandia Mountains from development the Loop Road has still not been built.


1 box (.45 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder.


Richard G. Illing papers consist of articles, correspondence, photographs and maps concerning his fight to preserve the ecological balance in the Sandia Mountains and prevent construction of the Ellis Forest Loop Highway.

Related Material

New Mexico Conservation Coordinating Council records Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Albuquerque Open Space Conservation Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Processing Information

The Donald Waskey notebook was added to the collection by the Illing family in September 2023. One sheet of additional photographs was added at the same time to Folder 1. In April 2024, a folder of 20 black and white photographs, five oversize maps and two oversize aerial photographs were added to the collection by the Illing family; the additions are noted in the file-level descriptions.
Finding Aid of the Richard G. Illing papers concerning the Ellis Forest Loop Road and the Sandia Mountains, 1950s-1990
Edited Full Draft
I. Renfro; revised and updated by C. Geherin
© 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131