An idea that went bad. There is a long story about New Lands, and maybe I will tell it someday. For now, know it no longer exists. Or not much of it does.
New Lands is in Eastern Arizona. It is in Apache County. The expansive community is located 20 miles east of the Petrified Forest National Park and stretches from the town of Chambers to the New Mexican border.
New Lands is a planned community created to blend the traditions of the past with the lifestyle of today. The community sits at elevations ranging from 5,500 feet to 6,900 feet. The warm desert climate has a summer high temperature of 100 degrees and a winter low temperature of 30 degrees. It is a growing area that is working toward a common goal.
There are a few outdoor activities that will make your trip to the area memorable. Window Rock is 35 miles to the northeast. It is a sandstone cliff created by wind, sand and water, which eroded an opening that reveals a broad sweep of country. It looks as if it had been made by the poke of a giant’s finger. However, Navajo legend has it that the Giant Snake made it. The Giant Snake crawled along the expanse of sandstone and eventually created a passageway to the other side. It is a huge, red sandstone formation that is 47 feet in diameter and 100 feet high. The formation suggests a window through a rock and it is listed as one the Seven Wonders of the World.
Climbing the rock is forbidden. It is a sacred place to the Navajo. Visitors can still get a good look at Window Rock from below by hiking around it. There are pieces still seen today near its base that is from a prehistoric Pueblo. New Lands is 20 miles east of the Petrified Forest National Park. Here you will discover some of the most amazing outdoor activities in the state. Once you arrive at the park, you will see what I mean. There are petrified logs in many shapes and sizes strewn across the desert floor. Please remember the collection or removal of petrified wood, natural or cultural objects is prohibited. There are two entrances to the park and both begin off of Interstate 40.
The north entrance takes you to the Painted Desert Visitor Center. Here you will see spectacular colors bouncing off the rock formations. The best time to make your visit is during sunset. You can then take the loop driving tour around to the south entrance. In the middle of the loop drive, there is the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark Museum. This was once a Fred Harvey hotel. It was built in the 1930’s. Today, the park service uses it as a visitor center and it sometimes features Native Americans demonstrating their crafts. The southern end of the drive has the Rainbow Museum. Visitors will find artifacts from the Puerco Indian Ruins dating back to 1150 A.D. Kids will love the three life-sized dinosaurs on display.
New Lands was created on 351,691 acres of tribal trust land and reaches from approximately Chambers, Arizona to the New Mexico state line, along Interstate 40. The towns of Sanders and Chambers are included in an additional 18,000 acres of private land, south of the Navajo Indian Land.
The land was selected for development to promote the strong religious and traditional values of the Navajo Indians. Yet, it also includes the transitional part of the Navajo society. This combination allows for all Navajos to live together. There are 17 range units that were constructed to provide the traditional lifestyle that many want to continue.
Near the town of Sanders is the Naht’a’Dziil chapter house. This chapter house in the center of local government for the New Land community and is the 110th Navajo chapter house. Naht’a’Dziil means, “planning through strength.” This phrase symbolizes New Lands.
New Lands is a planned community with ongoing growth. There are areas for homes, industry, business, farming, recreation, and education. Visitors will see a high school, hospitality center, rodeo arena, health clinic and an industrial building.
Today, the community’s goal is to encourage industrial and commercial expansion. This growth is anticipated, due to the community’s location along Interstate 40 and in addition to the Santa Fe Railroad running parallel to the highway.