Collins Lake Ranch is a magical, healing place located in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Northern New Mexico. The lake, pastures and mountains create a sense of peace and tranquility for visitors and residents alike. It was here that the vision to create a special community was born.
But to fully understand the Ranch, it is necessary that you first hear the story of Alex and the Woo.
Alexandrov was born in a small village in Eastern Europe. His parents could not afford to take care of their child and they asked the gods to look after their precious son. The gods answered them and gave Alex a new family along with the blessing/curse which is now called Autism. He would have many difficulties functioning in this mortal world, but he would have the special gift of understanding things that very few people can.
When Alex was 5 years old, he was visiting the Ranch in Northern New Mexico, strolling through the meadows, wading in the lake and hiking up the mountain. As he moved through the towering ponderosa pines, he would break off branches, tickling the beard of the sleeping Woo giant. The Woo had been resting in the mountain for thousands of years and was surprised to see this young boy climbing up and down his face. But he liked Alex and they became fast friends.
Alex continued to grow into a handsome young man and visited the Woo every year. On his 16th birthday the Woo invited Alex to move to the ranch permanently. He told Alex he would share his three gifts, living a purposeful life, teaching about nature, and sharing his healing powers. In return he asked Alex to always respect the land, nurture it, and share the Woo’s gifts with others who seek them. Thus was born Collins Lake Ranch as we know it today. Everything we have created here is tied to the gifts that the Woo has shared with Alex. We invite anyone that wishes to share in these gifts to visit the Ranch and be a part of our community.
The remainder of this website is written through the lens of a neuro-typical adult, but always remember the story of Alex and the Woo and the real meaning of the Ranch.
In 2013, construction began on homes for adults with disabilities. It was a place for them to live, work and play in a safe, nurturing environment. A campground area was added shortly thereafter so that younger individuals could also benefit from the natural gifts the land has to offer. Additional programs were developed, focusing on environmental education and outdoor learning. The wildfires in 2022 accelerated our efforts by creating a laboratory to study and mitigate fire behavior. The therapists that work with our residents were called upon to expand their efforts and help the many community members impacted by the trauma of the devastation.