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2014

  • In 2013, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance launched a pilot Wilderness Education project to test a model of environmental education. We tested a three-tiered approach for environmental education that begins in the classroom with Wilderness Education, expanding to the field trips and Exposure to Wild Nature and following up with Community Connection. This brought wilderness education directly into schools, teaching children about nature while giving them the tools to continue expanding their connection with the outdoors after our field trips were over. Because New Mexico consistently rates low in education and high in poverty, we worked directly with students in both rural and urban settings.

    The pilot project reached 140 students across the state in Taos, Albuquerque and Loving. Students from elementary, middle and high school levels participated. The teachers who worked with us were very enthusiastic to participate, get their students outside, and be creative in following up with the community connection. The students enjoyed learning about wilderness, joining the outdoor field trips and sharing their experiences with their school and families. Students wrote letters, created art or developed nature journals as part of the follow up activity.

  • Reminder: Sign-up now!

    The Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, Wilderness50 Planning Team, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, USFS Region 3, and other local partners invite you to attend one of three special 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act session of Wilderness Investigations teacher workshop:

    Bosque School:

    October 8 (5:00 – 7:30 p.m.) & October 9 (9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

    To register go to: http://www.regonline.com/WI_Bosque

    Los Lunas High School:

    October 10 _9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

    To register go to: http://www.regonline.com/WI_Los_Lunas

    Sandia Mountain Natural History Center:

    October 24 (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.) & October 25 (9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

    To register go to: http://www.regonline.com/WI_Sandia

    These special FREE teacher workshops are directed towards teachers of elementary, middle school, and high school. Experience cross-curricular lessons and activities from the Wilderness Investigations Toolkits, receive your WI Toolkit, and become a WI Teacher with access to additional online trainings, opportunities, and materials. Join us to learn about and celebrate 50 years of the National Wilderness Preservation System and its integral benefits and values.

    For more information: Email Steve Archibald at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Santa Fe Reporter
    June 3, 2014
    By Laura Paskus

    The Gila River in southwestern New Mexico is a fickle beast. It begins in the Mogollon Mountains, then heads through southern Arizona and into the Colorado River. Its modest flows in New Mexico drop once the snowmelt disappears, yet when severe rainstorms fall in the mountains, the river can rage.

    The Gila is a long way from Santa Fe. But an upcoming decision by a state board on how to spend a chunk of cash from the feds may have repercussions statewide. Within the next six months, the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) will decide whether to siphon the river’s flows.

    One of the alternatives being considered would place a diversion structure on the Gila, moving water out of the river and trying to sell it to cities, farms and industry.

    “This is a wild river in a unique area—the nation’s first wilderness—that has national value and value to people all over the state,” says Norman Gaume, a former director of the ISC.

    Ninety years ago this week, on June 3, 1924, the US Forest Service set aside 755,000 acres of the Gila National Forest, protecting it from development such as mining and commercial logging.

    “I see this proposal as sacrificing [the river] for very little gain, at a huge cost to the benefit of a few people who are local to the area,” Gaume says.
    Wading into History

    In the mid-20th century, New Mexico was drawn into a decades-long legal battle between California and Arizona over the Colorado River. In the end, New Mexico was promised more water from that river, but only if it found someone in Arizona willing to trade Colorado River water for water from the Gila or its tributary, the San Francisco.

    Then, 10 years ago, with the passage of the Arizona Water Settlements Act, Congress gave New Mexico until the end of 2014 to decide: Meet water demands in the southwestern part of the state through conservation and receive $66 million in federal funding; or divert and pump the Gila’s waters and receive up to $100 million.

    Irrigation districts, as well as a number of towns and counties, enthusiastically supported plans for diversion.

    The ISC, which enforces interstate water compacts and has powers to “investigate, protect, conserve and develop” New Mexico’s waters, consists of eight members appointed by the governor, plus the state engineer. Deputy Director Craig Roepke and staff have been evaluating proposals in order to make a recommendation to the commission.

    According to spokeswoman Lela Hunt, they’ve narrowed it down to five watershed restoration projects, four diversion and storage projects, three agricultural conservation projects, two effluent reuse projects and one municipal conservation project. Now, those 15 are being evaluated, she says, for legal and technical feasibility, economic costs and benefits, and ecological impacts.

    Allyson Siwik, director of the nonprofit Gila Resources Information Project, which opposes diversion, has seen major changes in the state’s process over the past few years. Originally, the public was excluded from the decision-making process. Then in 2007, Gov. Bill Richardson vetoed funding for Gila Basin water development.

    “That was a changing point in the process,” she says. “Then it went from an agency-led, behind-the-scenes process to one where irrigators, ranchers and environmentalists got to come to the table.”

    But after Gov. Susana Martinez was elected, in 2011 another new process was implemented. Stakeholders stopped meeting regularly and, says Siwik, ISC staff controlled the flow of information—even to the commissioners making the decision by year’s end.

    According to the ISC, staff have held more than 200 public meetings. But Siwik points out that those aren’t always meetings that allow for public input. That tally includes meetings with commissions and individual organizations. Documents and presentations are posted on the commission’s website, but the information can be difficult to find or confusing.

    One recent presentation, titled “End Game,” ends with a quote from the late Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas, on whom the movie Charlie Wilson’s War was based: “These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world…and then we f****d up the endgame.”

    The ISC’s Hunt says Roepke gave that presentation internally to staff, not to commissioners. It disappeared from the website after SFR made an inquiry.
    Uniquely Non-Transparent Process

    In January, the state released the preliminary engineering report for a $348 million diversion project that would store water from the Gila in nearby arroyos. The following month, state Sens. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, and Howie Morales, D-Silver City, introduced a bill to the New Mexico State Legislature directing the state to spend its federal money on conservation rather than diversion. But that bill didn’t even pass the Senate Conservation Committee.

    Now, just months before the commission will make its preliminary decision, questions remain.

    One of the ISC’s most vocal opponents is its former director, Norman Guame. He says the diversion project, as designed by contractor Bohannan Huston, is flawed. Sediment would plug the diversion’s infrastructure, and the sandy arroyos would drain, not store, the water. Not only that but the project’s $348 million pricetag—a lowball figure, he believes—would leave New Mexicans scrambling to cover costs above that $100 million from the feds.

    In April, Gaume appeared before the commissioners. He was taken aback by the ISC’s planning and decision-making process, which he calls “uniquely non-transparent” and “uniquely deceptive.”

    “I have had trouble getting reliable, factual information and believe that the information available to you is inadequate to properly inform your decision,” he told them.

    The retiree had spent months seeking staff models for how much water a diversion structure could take from the river­—not how much the state has rights to, but how much could physically be removed from the river.

    Those two numbers are very different, he says. “How could that be?” he asks. “And how, at this point in the process, could they not have an understanding of the water available? And how could they publicly pretend that the yield of the project is equal to the water right?”

    After ten years, ISC staff have failed to determine that, he says: “How will the public have any confidence that the money will be well spent and the project won’t fail?”

  • Since 2010, NM Wild has received grants from the National Forest Foundation to assist the US Forest Service with inventories of the wilderness areas within New Mexico national forests. On this page we summarize the work that we have been doing, give you links to maps, invasive plant info sheets, and field data log sheets. We invite you to join us doing useful work in the wilderness .

    What We Do

    GeoJot Thumb 104x150Volunteers learn how to collect data using nifty hand-held Geographic Positioning System (GPS) units loaded with Geographic Informations Systems (GIS) software. We hike around looking for human impact on the wilderness in the form of campsites, other human impact (called points of interest), encounters with other hikers, and invasive plants. We also record Natural Characteristics — the “Oh Wow” things that make wilderness special and worth preserving.

    The GIS software on the hand-held unit is accessed using touch screen commands and drop-down menus. When we get back to the office, we download the new data onto the GIS maps in the desktop computer. Since surveying is all about accuracy, double-checking, and triple-checking your work, we also record data points with paper and pencil. Here are the five data sheets that we use:

    2011 to 2015—Cibola National Forest (click on maps for larger versions)

    Sandia Invasive Plants 2014 97x150The Sandia Mountain Wilderness is located just east of Albuquerque. Since 2011, NM Wild continues to remove invasive cheatgrass, and to inventory this area.  In 2013, volunteers logged over 400 hours identifying, recording and removing cheatgrass on 15 miles of wilderness trails. This winter we are helping the Sandia Ranger District find and record undesignated user trails on the west side of the Sandia Mountains. We continue to collect data on recreational use, campsites, points of interest, invasive plants and natural characteristics.

    Sandias Thumb 115x150

    In 2011 Wilderness Alliance volunteers conducted extensive inventories in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness and the Withington Wilderness of the Cibola National Forest. In the Sandia Mountain Wilderness, 62 volunteers logged 975 hours finding 150 campsites, 8 stands of cheatgrass, 204 points of human impact, and 123 encounters with other people. Of the 134 miles of frequently used trails in the Sandia Mountains, volunteers were able to survey 117 miles.

    In 2014, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance worked to help the Cibola and Gila National Forests in New Mexico meet the requirements of the Wilderness Stewardship Challenge for elements 2 (Non-Native Invasive Plants), 4 (Education Plan), 5 (Solitude Survey),) and 9 (Information Management). Volunteer training began in April 2014 and on-the-ground surveys, inventories and documentation started shortly thereafter in the Sandia and Blue Range Wilderness. In the Cibola, we had the worst cheatgrass season since we embarked on this project, with large infestations of the invasive weeds present early in the spring through summer. Although this was a bad season for the weeds, it gave us a good opportunity to fully document the extent of the invasive plant in the Sandia Wilderness and focus removal efforts early in the season. 485.5 volunteer hours were accrued between March 2014 and March 2015 in the Sandia Wilderness, with 99 volunteers participating.
    Withington Thumb 115x150
    The Withington Wilderness lies southwest of Socorro, New Mexico. It is only accessible from rough dirt roads. During five overnight trips, volunteers worked for 208 hours to inventory all 17 miles of trails in this seldom used wilderness. Because of the severe drought during the spring and summer of 2012 no invasive plants were identified. Forty-two campsites were found; 38 points of interest were recorded, and 8 encounters occurred.

    2014-2015 – Blue Range Wilderness, Gila National Forest

    In 2014-2015 our goals in the Blue Range Wilderness were to complete solitude surveys (Element 5) and share key messaging related to wilderness awareness. We began training and recruiting volunteers in April 2014. Nathan Newcomer, in our Silver City office, coordinated efforts in the Silver City community, but also worked with the local chapter of the Great Old Broads in that region, as well as with students at the Aldo Leopold Charter School. Solitude Monitoring was conducted in the Blue Range Wilderness by multiple volunteers who were trained following the US Forest Service National Minimum Protocol for Monitoring. Twenty-six volunteers were trained and contributed a total of 656 hours of time for solitude monitoring in the Blue Range Wilderness. Many of the outings for solitude monitoring in the Blue Range Wilderness consisted of weekend campouts, in addition to a weeklong backpacking trip into the Blue Range Wilderness, where more than 350 hours of time was spent performing solitude surveys.

    2012—Lincoln National Forest (click on maps for larger versions)

    Smokey Bear Thumb

    During 2012, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance volunteers worked with the Smokey Bear Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest to inventory the White Mountain and Capitan Wilderness areas that surround the towns of Ruidoso, Capitan and Lincoln. Our mission was to hike the wilderness trails to inventory campsites, invasive plants, encounters with other people, signs of human impact recorded as points of interest, and natural characteristics. We used ESRI ArcPad 10.0 mapping software loaded onto our hand-held computers. We took GPS-linked photos of every item we found. Back at the office, all the data was combined into digital maps with hyperlinks for each photo.

    Capitan ThumbThe Capitan Wilderness is most famous as the home of a bear cub orphaned on May 10, 1950, in a forest fire–Smokey the Bear. Most people don’t know that the Capitan Wilderness is also home to 10,000 foot peaks, vast mountain meadows, steep rocky canyons, elk, mule deer, and black bear. There are seven hiking trails totalling 29 miles, though not all of the miles are accessible because of a wildfire in 2004. Volunteers hiked portions of six of Capitan’s trails, counting 5 campsites, 46 points of interest, 31 stands of invasive Bull thistle and Musk thistle, and only one encounter on the Labor Day weekend. The Capitan Wilderness is isolated, desolate, and very wild.

    White Mtn ThumbThe White Mountain Wilderness ranges from 6,000 foot desert grasslands to 12,000 foot panoramic views. It covers almost 49,000 acres and ranges from 6,000 to 11,580 feet in elevation. Twenty-six hiking trails, totaling 92 miles, are known to be accessible. Inventory work was interrupted from mid June to late August when the Little Bear wildfire ravaged the mountain, burning almost half of the wilderness area. 35 volunteers came from Carlsbad, Los Lunas, Ruidoso, Cloudcroft, Alamogordo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and New Jersey, They worked 971 hours finding 90 campsites, 125 stands of invasive plants, 215 points of interest, 65 natural characteristics, and 56 encounters with other people. Activities of the people encountered included camping, hiking, photography, hunting, horseback riding and backpacking.

    2010—Santa Fe National Forest and Cibola National Forest

    Wilderness Alliance volunteers contributed inventory data to the Santa Fe National Forest Stewardship Challenge database by conducting inventory campouts and hikes in the Dome Wilderness near Bandelier National Monument and part of the Pecos Wilderness within the Las Vegas Ranger District. UNM students assisted by inventory-ing trails in the Manzano Mountain Wilderenss within the Cibola National Forest.

    Invasive Plant Information Sheets

    Don Heinze, retired BLM invasive plant expert, has been helping Wilderness Alliance volunteers learn about the importance of invasive plants in the wilderness. He gives talks and field lessons on how to identify these nasty invaders. Don prepared information sheets for us to use as we hike around in wilderness areas. Below you can click on the photos to open information sheets for Cheatgrass, Spotted Knapweed, Scott’s Thistle, Musk Thistle, Bull Thistle, Dalmation Toadflax, and Oxeye Daisy.

    Cheatgrass Thumb

    Cheat Grass  

    Knapweed thumb 150x150

    Spotted Knapweed 

    Scotts Thistle thumb 150x150

    Scott’s Thistle

    Oxeye Thumb

    Oxeye Daisy 

    Musk Thistle thumb 150x150

    Musk Thistle 

    Bull Thistle Thumb

    Bull Thistle 

    Dalmatian Toadflax Thumb

    Dalmatian Toadflax 

     

    Contact Information

    For more information about the Wilderness Stewardship Challenge work of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, or to ask about any of the information on this web-page, please contact:

    Lynne Uhring
    New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 505-843-8696, ext 110

    rei logo11111 150x110The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is the proud recipient of a REI grant for $20,000 to support stewardship projects on New Mexico’s best public lands. REI’s commitment builds greater awareness for the importance of volunteerism and is an investment in stewardship of our wilderness areas.

    National Forest Foundation Logo 150x71

    The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is the proud recipient of a Wilderness Stewardship Challenge award from the National Forest Foundation! The National Forest Foundation, chartered by Congress, engages America in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million acre National Forest System, and accepts and administers private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of the National Forests.

    ESRI logoThe New Mexico Wilderness Alliance uses Esri GIS mapping software. GIS is the data mapping, management and analysis technology developed over 40 years ago and widely used today by every type of non-profit, commercial, government and private institution to create, manage and publish spatial data. ESRI GIS is used today as the foundation for online spatial data and maps at tens of thousands of universities, government agencies and organizations.

  • Senator Heinrich Gives Impassioned Speech During Wilderness Week in D.C.

    Senator Martin Heinrich on Wednesday gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor about the Wilderness Act’s and Land and Water Conservation Fund’s (LWCF) 50th anniversaries. His speech was made in conjunction with similar speeches from Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon) and Senator Mark Udall (Colorado). We are grateful to have such passionate champions for our public lands representing us in the U.S. Senate.

    “Wilderness is in my blood, and I make no apologies for believing that some places are so very special that we will never improve upon them.” —Senator Martin Heinrich

    Watch video here.

    NM Wild would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Senator Heinrich for being a champion for New Mexico wilderness and public lands
    protection.

    What is Wilderness Week?

    Wilderness Week took place in Washington, D.C., September 15-17 and included: an activist gathering to honor our history and discuss the next 50 years of wilderness protection; meetings with congressional leaders; a celebration event and after-hours tour of the Wilderness Forever photography exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National History Museum; a lecture by leading American environmental historian William Cronon; and much more.

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    This week, our Executive Director Mark Allison joined others in the wilderness community for Wilderness Week in Washington D.C. Mark met with the New Mexico congressional delegation to discuss conservation efforts in New Mexico and attended a summit of conservation leaders recognizing New Mexico’s important role in wilderness history and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

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    Gila River Festival

    September 18-21, 2014
    In and around Silver City
    Sponsored by NM Wild with keynote speech from Dave Foreman and sessions with NM Wild Executive Director Mark Allison and Gila Grassroots Organizer Nathan Newcomer. Learn more.

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    Personal Wilderness Challenge

    Tina’s visiting all of New Mexico’s wilderness areas in one year in her spare time

    Our communications coordinator only has 8 more wilderness areas to visit in New Mexico before December 31 at midnight to complete her personal challenge to visit every one in 2014! With a start date of July 1, she has visited 19 of New Mexico’s wilderness areas to date!

    Latest blog posts:

    Why is it called Onion Wilderness? (Cebolla Wilderness)

    I’m not lost. I’m just not where I’m supposed to be. (Cruces Basin Wilderness)

    Hoodoos and Gunsmoke (Ojito Wilderness)

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    Don’t forget to register!

    National Wilderness Conference – Albuquerque, October 15-19, 2014

    There is still time to register for the early-bird price for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act National Wilderness Conference in Albuquerque this fall.

    Register here.

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    10 Reasons The Wilderness Act Was One Of The Best Ideas Ever

    Huffington Post – The Wilderness Act turrned 50 this month, marking the anniversary of the preservation of some of our most treasured national lands. Passed in 1964, the Wilderness Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System and created the first official wilderness areas. To celebrate our nation’s wilderness areas, here are 10 reasons why we need wilderness. Read more

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    Upcoming events

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  • Check out this week’s eNews for the latest updates and information on our campaigns. Read Wilderness Weekly here.

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    Gila Wild – A Celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the Gila Wilderness and the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

    The outside is in – as the Silver City Museum in cooperation with the Gila National Forest present this new exhibit opening on Saturday, May 24, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Silver City Museum is located at 312 W. Broadway in Silver City.

    “The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World.” Henry David Thoreau.

    The people of Silver City and Southwest New Mexico played an important role in both the establishment and preservation of the Gila Wilderness in 1924 and in the passage and signing of the Wilderness Act by President Johnson in 1964. This year, the nation is celebrating both of these important events.

    Read more

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    The Gila Wilderness is celebrating its 90th birthday June 3 as the very first wilderness designation in the United States. We’re making a trek across the Gila to commemorate this special day, and we invite your participation in this historic event. Read more.

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    Wilderness Turns 50

    During half a century, the Wilderness Act has achieved remarkable results, and is still a critical law for conservation.

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    Your Participation Needed in Albuquerque

    BLM accepting public comments on oil and gas development surrounding Chaco

    Please join us for a meeting with members of the BLM’s Farmington Field Office to discuss their upcoming Resource Management Plan amendment, which will consider oil and gas development in the Mancos Shale formation surrounding Chaco, and which will complete an inventory of Lands with Wilderness Characteristics.

    The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 6, from 6-7:30 p.m., at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History (1801 Mountain Road NW in Albuquerque).

    The BLM has already held its official public meetings for the scoping period of this amendment, but has graciously agreed to attend this meeting to answer additional questions. Scoping comments from the public are due May 28.

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    Weigh In On Future of Public Lands in Southern NM

    Public comments on the topics of oil and gas development and lands with wilderness characteristics are needed. The federal government planning process is under way for nearly 3 million acres of public lands in southern New Mexico, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is collecting public input as it develops a Resource Management Plan for the area.

    Judy Calman, staff attorney, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, said getting people to speak up is a critical part of the process.

    “If they made oil and gas leasing decisions without looking at wilderness resources, they could potentially harm some pretty amazing places, which we don’t want to see,” Calman said.

    Read more

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    U.S. Drones Unearth More Details About Chaco Culture

    Recently published research describes how archaeologists outfitted a customized drone with a heat-sensing camera to unearth what they believe are ceremonial pits and other features at the site of an ancient village in New Mexico.

    The discovery of the structures hidden beneath layers of sediment and sagebrush is being hailed as an important step that could help archaeologists shed light on mysteries long buried by eroding desert landscapes from the American Southwest to the Middle East. The results of the research were published earlier this month in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

    Read more

    Plus, Chaco Canyon’s dark skies celebrated

    Read more about what we’re doing to protect Chaco Canyon

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    Wilderness 50 Gear

    As you may know, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. It all started here in New Mexico with the Gila Wilderness, and NM Wild is honored to be taking a key role in helping to organize the Wilderness 50 conference, which takes place in Albuquerque this October.

    In spirit of the special anniversary and upcoming conference, we’ve got commemorative hats, mugs, t-shirts and sweatshirts.

    Browse items and order here.

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    Comment Writing Workshop

    Join us in Las Cruces Tonight

    Last December, the Las Cruces office of the BLM announced that it would prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as part of its Resource Management Plan Revision. This means that it is preparing a new document to address Lands with Wilderness Characteristics and Oil and Gas issues that were omitted from the initial Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

    There is still one more public meeting in Las Cruces today.[http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/fo/Las_Cruces_District_Office/tricounty_rmp.html] Please consider joining us for a comment writing workshop at NM Wild’s Las Cruces Office right before the public meeting, on from 5-5:45 p.m. We will review the content of the Supplement, hand out sample comments, and answer questions about the public meeting. Pizza and drinks provided!

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    Upcoming events

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    Rio Chama Rafting
    Premium Trip!

    June 7-9, 2014

    Experience three days and two nights floating down America’s wild and scenic Rio Chama with experts, scientists and philosophers from the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild). The 25-mile long Rio Chama begins in alpine woodlands as a clear, rushing trout stream and ends at the head of Abiquiu Reservoir as a silty, desert river, rolling among rainbow cliffs typical of the Four Corners region. Lovely, wooded campsites and lively, but easy rapids make the Chama one of the best family river outings anywhere.

    Sign up

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    Urban Reach Rio Grande Float – Waiting List Only

    May 3, 2014

    Join the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild) and Far Flung Adventures to explore the primitive aspects of the lifeline of New Mexico from Algodones to the Alameda Bridge (water level permitting). Our experienced guides and conservationists will provide history and discuss important issues about this highly managed, but gorgeous stretch of the Rio Grande River.

    Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the wait list.

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    May Wildflower Exploration

    May 4, 2014
    Las Cruces area

    If winter rains combine with spring showers, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area comes alive in a sea of wildflowers. Depending on where the flowers are brightest, we might travel to the secluded grasslands of the Sierra de Las Uvas Mountains, the verdant foothills of the Organ Mountains, the remote and lush mountain grasslands in the Potrillo Mountains or the hidden lava canyons in the lava flows. These landscapes are some of the most important bird, animal and plant habitat anywhere in southern New Mexico, and you’ll be our guest as we see them in what is hopefully full bloom!

    Sign up

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    Lower San Francisco Canyon

    May 10, 2014

    Riverine habitat and wetlands make up less than 1 percent of New Mexico’s landscape, and we will explore some of the finest remaining river country in the state. This somewhat strenuous hike will take us to the Lower San Francisco River where it winds its way through a critical wilderness study area. With its towering cliff walls, hot springs, ancient narrow-leaf and Fremont cottonwoods, native walnut and giant Arizona sycamore trees, this river corridor is home to a remarkable diversity of birds, fish and mammals. Seldom visited, the Lower San Francisco Canyon will surely provide outstanding opportunities for solitude and unconfined forms of recreation. Be sure to bring your “river legs!”

    Sign up

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    Hawks Aloft 20th Anniversary

    Friday, May 16
    6-10 p.m.
    Natural History Museum in Albuquerque

    Hawks Aloft Night at the Museum includes:
    Planetarium Show Live Music Food Cash Bar Live Birds Silent Auction More
    Tickets are $35. Get your tickets now by calling 828-9455 or order online at www.hawksaloft.org.

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    Rio Grande del Norte Rafting

    May 31, 2014

    Los Rios River Runners is partnering with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance for a river raft trip through the recently designated Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Spend a full day on the river in the spectacular Rio Grande Gorge with walls rising to 1,500 feet. We will spend the morning in the gentle Orilla Verde section, flanked by green meadows. It’s mellow and peaceful, the perfect introduction to the gorgeous Rio Grande Gorge. After a riverside lunch, we head into the rollercoaster Class III rapids of the Racecourse. This will be an excellent trip for those who want to experience the thrill of whitewater, but ease gradually into it. After a morning getting comfortable with the paddle in your hand, you’ll feel ready to tackle the Narrows, Eye of the Needle, Sleeping Beauty and the finishing thrill of Souse Hole. This trip is not recommended for children 12 and under during high water conditions.

    Sign up

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    Yellowstone Wildlife Watch 2015

    February 22-26, 2015

    Join the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance’s Executive Director Mark Allison and special guest David Parsons for three days and four nights in the stunning setting of Yellowstone National Park for our most unique wilderness and wildlife watching experience.

    Learn more here.

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  • Retired Military Leaders Urge Congress to Reject Efforts to Undo Antiquities Act

    (Commentary by Retired Lt. General Clarence “Mac” McKnight)

    On Thursday, July 10, the House Committee on Homeland Security held a subcommittee hearing to discuss the “implications for border security” presented by designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks a national monument. Some members of the subcommittee argued the monument designation will curtail border enforcement.

    Retired generals with 2,300 combined years of military service to this nation, unequivocally state that this line of pursuit to investigate border issues at the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is just plain wrong-headed. I question the wisdom of any further time on the matter spent by Congress for numerous reasons.

    Read more.

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    Youth Scholarships to National Wilderness Conference

    Applications due August 15!

    New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is committed to leadership development for wilderness advocacy and to ensuring wilderness remains accessible to everyone. As such, NM Wild is awarding scholarships to the Wilderness 50th National Conference to youth who demonstrate leadership or are working towards a leadership role in wilderness education efforts, advocacy and community awareness.

    Scholarships will cover conference registration only. The scholarships provide local New Mexico youth who would otherwise be unable to attend an opportunity to go to the conference. The number and amount of scholarships will be based on available funding. Scholarships are open to youth 18-25 years old. Learn more and apply.

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    Mexico Reports Litter Of Mexican Gray Wolves Born In Wild For First Time In Decades

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The first known litter of Mexican gray wolves has been born in the wild as part of a three-year effort to re-introduce the subspecies to a habitat where it disappeared three decades ago, Mexican officials reported in July.

    Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas said the wolf pups were sighted in June by a team of researchers in the western Sierra Madre mountains.

    “This first litter represents an important step in the recovery program, because these will be individuals that have never had contact with human beings, as wolves bred in captivity inevitably do,” the commission said in a statement. Read more.

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    The Fall of the Wild? Not Really.

    The landmark Wilderness Act is 50 years old, and it’s still working

    This September marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act[http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/legisAct], the piece of federal legislation that created a national system of wilderness areas and established the principles for their management. Its passage was a shining moment in American environmental ethics: the statutory affirmation of a nation’s deep regard for the wild and a determination to devote considerable political and material resources to protecting it. Yet today there is a debate brewing about whether the act is still a vital and useful part of our environmental inheritance—or whether its best days may now be behind it.

    Read more.

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    Wilderness50 Challenge: Visiting the Latir Peak Wilderness

    In last week’s eNews, we told you about our communications coordinator’s challenge to visit all of New Mexico’s wilderness areas in 2014 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

    Read this week’s featured post: Latir Peak Wilderness

    PS: We’d like to note this is a personal endeavor (not funded by NM Wild).

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    Upcoming events

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    Thinking Wilderness: The Art Show

    Calling All Artists – August 2-17, 2014
    OCHO Art & Event Space,Questa

    Reception: August 9, 2014, from 5-8 p.m.

    All local and regional visual artists are encouraged to enter 2 and 3 dimensional artworks for this open exhibition taking place August 2-7, at OCHO Art & Event Space in Questa. Artworks must reflect the wilderness theme and be 150 square inches or less (not including frame, pedestal or display case for jewelry). Exhibition details and downloadable application HERE. Questions? Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 575-586-2362.

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    Wetland Restoration in Grassy Creek

    Calling all volunteers!

    August 8-10, 2014
    Registration dealine: August 1

    This is the Quivira Coalition’s 12th year of working in the Comanche Creek Watershed. Come get your hands dirty and your feet wet! Join Quivira staff Craig Sponholtz, Bill Zeedyk, and volunteers in the beautiful high mountain meadows of Grassy Creek, a tributary of Comanche Creek in the Valle Vidal unit of Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico on August 8-10 for a weekend of restoration work and camping. LEARN MORE AND SIGNUP ONLINE. It is very important that you register prior to the workshop in order to receive all of the information you’ll need in advance.

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    NM Wild Night Out at O’Niell’s

    August 9, 2014 from 5-8 p.m.
    Albuquerque

    On Saturday, August 9, NM Wild will serve as guest bartenders at O’Niell’s in Nob Hill Albuquerque. Please put it in your calendars!

    IMPORTANT: Please print out your event ticket here and bring to the event and O’Niell’swill give $3 to NM Wild. There will also be complementary hors d’ouervres.

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    Gila Wilderness Inventory Workshop

    August 9-10, 2014

    DESCRIPTION: This year marks the 90th anniversary of America’s first wilderness—the Gila. In honor of this momentous occasion, we are hosting a series of workshops to train citizens on how to conduct wilderness inventories in the Gila National Forest, as well as how to conduct citizen monitoring in wilderness areas. Among other things, participants will:
    Learn how to operate GPS software and use it to collect data Learn how to perform a wilderness inventory and evaluation Learn how to identify signs of wildlife Learn how to monitor human impacts in wilderness Gain a greater understanding of Forest Service directives and regulations

    As a part of the workshop, participants will be provided with a detailed handbook in advance and will spend a full day conducting fieldwork in the Gila National Forest in order to gain a better understanding of the training.

    Learn more and sign up here

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    Save the Date to Save the Lobo

    Your voice needed at public hearing
    Wednesday, August 13 (Please note this is a correction from last week)

    Civic/Convention Center
    400 W 4th Ave, Truth or Consequences
    Refreshments start at 2 p.m. | Public hearing from 6-9 p.m.

    Sixteen years after they were reintroduced, only 83 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild. The wild lobos are struggling for their survival. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed changes to Mexican wolf management—two good changes and many more that will worsen the lobo’s already-tenuous plight. The USFWS will hold public hearings on its proposal. You and other supporters of the Mexican wolf are all that will stand between extinction and survival for these critically endangered, beautiful, intelligent animals. Please speak up for the lobo at a hearing in August.

    We will have activities and refreshments for wolf supporters at both locations starting by 2 p.m.–check back at www.mexicanwolves.org for updates as the date gets closer! A critical mass of supporters at these hearings can turn the tide for the Mexican gray wolf. Please save the date and spread the word! For more information, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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    Pecos Roadless Area Inventory

    August 15-17, 2014
    Northern New Mexico

    DESCRIPTION: Arrive Friday for dinner and camp two nights at Agua Piedra Campground on N.M. 518 in Tres Ritos. On Saturday, take an easy hike 2 miles up Agua Piedra Creek through the proposed Special Management Area to the boundary of the northern Santa Barbara Roadless area. Hikers may continue on a strenuous hike (an additional 7.5 miles with 2,000-plus foot elevation gain) through the roadless area ending at Santa Barbara Campground. A shuttle will be provided from Santa Barbara campground back to Agua Piedra.

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    Wildlife in the Early Hours

    August 19, 2014
    Las Cruces Area

    DESCRIPTION: Wildlife is always most active in the early hours. Can you get up early enough to see them? Join area experts to learn more about animals like mule deer, javelina and elusive desert pronghorn antelope—and hopefully see some of them in their beautiful native habitats! We will hike into the Sierra de Las Uvas grasslands.

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    North Sandia Peak Hike

    August 23, 2014
    Sandia Crest

    We’ll do the hike to North Sandia Peak with field biologist Nathan Peterson. It is a fairly easy 3.6-mile round-trip from the crest. There is a $3 parking fee at the crest—federal passes are honored. During the hike, we will discuss some of the mammals found in the Sandia Mountains. Great hike to escape the summer heat!

    Sign up here

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    Monsoon Wildflower Explosion

    August 23, 2014
    Las Cruces Area

    DESCRIPTION: Late summer monsoons bring a desert and grassland flower bonanza with them. We’ll travel to some of the most beautiful stands that are hidden away in the Sierra de Las Uvas grasslands. These verdant landscapes are some of the most important bird, animal and plant habitats anywhere in southern New Mexico, and you’ll be our guest as we see them in what is hopefully full bloom!

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    Gila Wolf Backpack

    August 29-September 1, 2014

    DESCRIPTION: A four-day, three-night luxury backpack trip looking for wild Mexican wolves in the Gila Wilderness. Our expert guide, Dave Parsons, led the wolf reintroduction project for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 90s. No one knows more about Mexican wolves or has done more for them than Parsons. This is a truly unique opportunity to spend time with a wilderness hero in a place he knows and loves like no other. We will be looking for wolves and other wildlife while enjoying the natural beauty of one of the most spectacular wild places in the lower 48 states. Zack Crockett with Gila Backcountry Services will be providing pack mules to haul most of our gear in, and he will also be providing all of our meals.

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    Wilderness Day at Isotopes Park

    Celebrate Wilderness with Us!

    Monday, September 1, 2014
    1:35 p.m. at Albuquerque Isotopes Park
    Come out with family and friends to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and watch the Albuquerque Isotopes play the Las Vegas 51′s.

    Let’s see how many wilderness supporters we can get in the crowd!

    Learn how to get a discounted $8 ticket to the game here!

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    Thinking Wilderness Online Residency

    September 3, 2014

    First Wilderness Thinker in Residence featured here on the Thinking Wilderness website and other venues TBA. Chosen featured thinkers will also be announced with the launch of the project.

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    NeoRio 2014: Thinking Wilderness

    September 6, 2014
    Wild Rivers, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

    Launching the “Wilderness Thinkers in Residence Project”

    NeoRio will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in its own way, with the launch of the “Wilderness Thinkers in Residence” project, featuring the first Thinker in Residence as the NeoRio Featured Artist. Join us for the NeoRio featured artist lecture, hands-on experience of artwork & evening celebration on the gorge on September 6. More information about the annual NeoRio event can be found at www.leapsite.org

  • Take a hike on the wild side

    Some of the key pioneers of the national wilderness movement were inspired by New Mexico’s rugged and beautiful landscapes, so it’s only fitting that Albuquerque was chosen to host the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary celebration this fall.

    The act, which was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society, went through more than 60 revisions over eight years before being passed and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964. The act protected 9.1 million acres of federal land and created the legal definition of wilderness, barring roads, vehicles, permanent structures and activities such as logging, drilling or mining.

    “It is really important to take a step back, pause and really celebrate what was a pretty radical notion at that time,” said Mark Allison, executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “The world had not seen legislation protect wild places for their intrinsic beauty.”

    Read more

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    On Saturday, we were guest bartenders at O’Niell’s in Albuquerque. We had a great time meeting our local members and talking wilderness while enjoying beer! Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

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    The Wild, Wild Withington

    Our communications coordinator headed to the little-visited Withington Wilderness this weekend near Magdalena. She learned just why this wilderness is so infrequently visited and discovered some of its charms.

    “…what I experienced was one of the more “wild” and organic experiences I’ve had in New Mexico wilderness…This is no Sandia Mountain Wilderness or Wheeler Peak Wilderness. This is the Wild Withington…” Read more

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    Trimble Outdoors Launches Wilderness Area Maps for Mobile Devices

    In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Trimble Outdoors has launched off-the-grid maps for 752 Wilderness Areas at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Show.

    Outdoor enthusiasts can download the Wilderness maps, which include detailed topo maps and helpful map overlays in 18 zoom levels, into an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Once installed, users can view maps and navigate into Wilderness areas using the free Trimble Outdoors app installed on a smartphone or tablet. The maps and GPS technology all work without a cell or data connection, making it easy to explore Wilderness areas.

    Learn more here.

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    Divert and Conquer

    NM’s plans to dam the Gila River are dubious and damn expensive

    With a lagging economy and a warming climate, New Mexico might be getting ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on dim plans to draw water from the Gila River. The state has had a decade to decide: Build diversions, canals and reservoirs to take 14,000 acre feet each year of the river’s waters; or, secure water for farmers, businesses and homes in the sparsely populated southwestern corner of New Mexico through efficiency and conservation. Now, with a rush of last-minute studies and contradictory results, 10 men are heading toward a vote that could change one of the West’s last wild stretches of river.

    Read more.

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    NM Wild Events
    View more upcoming events here

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    Pecos Roadless Area Inventory

    August 15-17, 2014
    Northern New Mexico

    DESCRIPTION: Arrive Friday for dinner and camp two nights at Agua Piedra Campground on N.M. 518 in Tres Ritos. On Saturday, take an easy hike 2 miles up Agua Piedra Creek through the proposed special management area to the boundary of the northern Santa Barbara roadless area. Hikers may continue on a strenuous hike (an additional 7.5 miles with 2,000-plus foot elevation gain) through the roadless area ending at Santa Barbara Campground. A shuttle will be provided from Santa Barbara Campground back to Agua Piedra.

    We are providing dinner both Friday and Saturday evenings. We’ll be grilling under the stars with a campfire and making s’mores on Saturday night. The hike along the Agua Piedra Creek is wonderful and we expect fields of wildflowers in this unspoiled area of the Carson National Forest Roadless Area adjacent to the wilderness.

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    Wildlife in the Early Hours

    August 19, 2014
    Las Cruces Area

    DESCRIPTION: Wildlife is always most active in the early hours. Can you get up early enough to see them? Join area experts to learn more about animals like mule deer, javelina and elusive desert pronghorn antelope—and hopefully see some of them in their beautiful native habitats! We will hike into the Sierra de Las Uvas grasslands.

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    North Sandia Peak Hike

    August 23, 2014
    Sandia Crest

    We’ll do the hike to North Sandia Peak with field biologist Nathan Peterson. It is a fairly easy 3.6-mile round-trip from the crest. There is a $3 parking fee at the crest—federal passes are honored. During the hike, we will discuss some of the mammals found in the Sandia Mountains. Great hike to escape the summer heat!

    Sign up here

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    Monsoon Wildflower Explosion

    August 23, 2014
    Las Cruces Area

    DESCRIPTION: Late summer monsoons bring a desert and grassland flower bonanza with them. We’ll travel to some of the most beautiful stands that are hidden away in the Sierra de Las Uvas grasslands. These verdant landscapes are some of the most important bird, animal and plant habitats anywhere in southern New Mexico, and you’ll be our guest as we see them in what is hopefully full bloom!

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    From our Friends and Partners

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    Thinking Wilderness: The Art Show

    Calling All Artists – August 2-17, 2014
    OCHO Art & Event Space,Questa
    Reception: August 9, 2014, from 5-8 p.m.

    All local and regional visual artists are encouraged to enter 2 and 3 dimensional artworks for this open exhibition taking place August 2-17, at OCHO Art & Event Space in Questa. Artworks must reflect the wilderness theme and be 150 square inches or less (not including frame, pedestal or display case for jewelry). More info here. Questions? Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 575-586-2362.

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    Save the Date to Save the Lobo
    Your Voice Needed at Public Hearing

    Wednesday, August 13
    Civic/Convention Center
    400 W 4th Ave, Truth or Consequences
    Refreshments start at 2 p.m. | Public hearing from 6-9 p.m.

    Sixteen years after they were reintroduced, only 83 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild. The wild lobos are struggling for their survival. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed changes to Mexican wolf management—two good changes and many more that will worsen the lobo’s already-tenuous plight. The USFWS will hold public hearings on its proposal. You and other supporters of the Mexican wolf are all that will stand between extinction and survival for these critically endangered, beautiful, intelligent animals. Please speak up for the lobo at a hearing in Truth or Consequences.

    We will have activities and refreshments for wolf supporters starting by 2 p.m.–check back at www.mexicanwolves.org for updates as the date gets closer! A critical mass of supporters at these hearings can turn the tide for the Mexican gray wolf. Please save the date and spread the word! For more information, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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    Wilderness Day at Isotopes Park
    Celebrate Wilderness with Us!

    Monday, September 1, 2014
    1:35 p.m. at Albuquerque Isotopes Park

    Come out with family and friends to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and watch the Albuquerque Isotopes play the Las Vegas 51′s.

    Let’s see how many wilderness supporters we can get in the crowd!

    Learn how to get a discounted $8 ticket to the game here!

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    NeoRio 2014: Thinking Wilderness
    Launching the “Wilderness Thinkers in Residence Project”

    September 6, 2014
    Wild Rivers, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

    NeoRio will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in its own way, with the launch of the “Wilderness Thinkers in Residence” project, featuring the first Thinker in Residence as the NeoRio Featured Artist. Join us for the NeoRio featured artist lecture, hands-on experience of artwork & evening celebration on the gorge on September 6. More information about the annual NeoRio event can be found at www.leapsite.org.

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    10th Annual Gila River Festival: Celebrating America’s First Wilderness River

    In and around Silver City
    September 18- 21, 2014

    The 10th annual Gila River Festival, “Celebrating America’s First Wilderness River,” planned in and around Silver City, September 18-21, 2014, will commemorate two momentous wilderness milestones. Across the country, conservationists will honor the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary. In southwest New Mexico, we’ll also celebrate the Gila Wilderness area’s 90th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Gila River Festival. As America’s first wilderness river, the Gila’s verdant thread of life weaves through these celebrations.

    Learn more and view the schedule of events.

  • This week’s eNews features updates on our Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Chaco and Mexican wolves campaigns. Plus, the 2014 Conservation Wolf Stamp is on its way. Read this week’s eNews here.

  • NM Wild issues a letter to Gov. Martinez over Game Commission members participating in coyote killing contests. Plus, we still need action from you for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and the Gila River. Read this week’s eNews.

  • Last week, the New Mexico state Senate passed a memorial recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. NM Wild Executive Director Mark Allison served as an expert witness on the Senate floor. Learn more about this and more in this week’s Wilderness Weekly!

    Read Wilderness Weekly – February 20, 2014

  • We welcomed U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to Las Cruces, plus Pecos and Rio Grande del Norte updates in this week’s wilderness weekly. Read it now.

  • Forest Closures in Albuquerque area (map)

    Starting Monday, fire closures were put in place for the Sandia and Mountainair ranger districts of the Cibola National Forest.

    “The districts have been closely monitoring conditions, and based on their assessments and the National Weather Service predictions of ongoing severe drought, I feel it is necessary to close these districts to prevent human-caused wildfires and to protect public health and safety,” said Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman.

    When closure orders are enacted, all areas of the districts are closed unless specifically listed as open. The Sandia Peak Tram and Albuquerque open-space trails, including those in the foothills and bosque, will remain open. So far, other forests in the state are not affected by closures. View a list of open and closed area, trails and roads here.

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    NM Wild would like to thank our Las Cruces area members for the great turnout at our member meeting Saturday. We had a great conversation about what is next now that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks has been designated a national monument. To our other members across the state—stay tuned for a member gathering coming soon in your area, starting with Albuquerque (see information about the O’Niell’s event this August in the Upcoming Events section of this alert).

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    Attend the Wilderness 50th Conference

    Want to attend the National Wilderness Conference this October for free or discount? Sign up as a volunteer. Great networking opportunity as well. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to volunteer today.

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    Why Wilderness is Truly American

    As you prepare to celebrate America’s birthday over the weekend, we hope you’re able to spend some time outdoors in one of our nation’s wilderness areas. Designated wilderness is, in and of itself, a truly American concept. It’s no surprise that the world’s first designated wilderness—the Gila Wilderness—is right in our backyard. As Americans, we are so lucky to have so many wonderful places to enjoy (and fight for). In Spain, conservationists so long for the lost wild, that they are trying to recreate wilderness! This is part of a larger European movement to bring back stretches of wilderness that haven’t existed for centuries on the continent.

    As we celebrate another Independence Day, let’s keep working together to protect America’s lands, wildlife and wilderness tradition from now into the future! And let’s keep these lands independent of development to keep them truly free!

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    NM Wild Staff Visit Washington for Great Outdoors America Week

    Our Gila Grassroots Organizer Nathan Newcomer (far left) and Traditional Community Organizer John Olivas (far right) alongside our close friends from The Wilderness Society Mario Nuño-Whelan (left center) and Michael Casaus (right center), joined Senator Heinrich to talk wilderness during Great Outdoors America Week (June 23-26) in Washington, D.C. As one of the largest annual conservation and outdoor focused events in Washington D.C., GO Week raises awareness around outdoors issues. Our staff also met with other members of our congressional delegation during their visit.

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    NM Wild Staff Member Featured in High Country News

    Our Traditional Community Organizer John Olivas was featured in the latest issue of High Country News for his work as a former county commission chair in Mora County.

    Read more

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    Climb aboard with 100 percent of your previous support: NM Wild Offers Special Lifetime Membership Deal

    That’s right—whatever you have given in the past counts toward the future. Example: If you gave the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance $300 total in all past years combined, use that as a credit toward a lifetime membership by giving $200 now and your $500 lifetime membership is confirmed, for life! No more annual fees. This offer is good until December 31, 2014, only. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get your gifts-to-date figure. Common good stewardship for the conservation movement is worth a lifetime!

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    Report Violations or Abuse in New Mexico’s Wilderness

    Protecting New Mexico’s public land is a big job and we need your help! New Mexico Wilderness Alliance does its best to ensure that federal agencies are managing our public lands in accordance with the law and to let them know when there are problems on the ground. You can help us by being our eyes and ears. When you see violations or abuse in New Mexico’s designated wilderness areas and other protected places, please let us know so we can report it to the responsible agency.

    Some common problems are:
    ATVs or mountain bikes in designated wilderness areas
    Broken fences
    Illegal wood cutting
    Cows in rivers and streams

    To report a violation, visit: www.nmwild.org/take-action/report-a-violation

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    Board Election Results

    By vote of the members, Bob Taffanelli and David Soules have been elected to new three-year terms on our board. Following the election outcome, the Board of Directors proceeded to appoint Nancy Morton and Joe Alcock to three-year terms. The board also appointed Claire Cote to a one-year term.

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    Open Letter to Wilderness

    Dear Wilderness,

    When we first met, I didn’t know how much I would come to love you, how much you would mean to me. I was quite young, with a lot yet to learn…

    Read more

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    Independence Day Fire Tips: Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

    Going camping this weekend? Here are some tips for extinguishing your campfire from www.smokeybear.com[http://www.smokeybear.com].
    Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible. Pour lots of water on the fire to drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour until hissing sound stops. Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel. Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers. Stir and make sure everything is wet and cold to the touch. If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool.

    Remember: Do NOT bury the fire as it will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.More information about campfire safety can be found online at: www.smokeybear.com/campfire-safety.asp. Please also be aware of fire restrictions in your area.

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    NM Wild #1 Among Environmental Groups in Give Grande 2014

    On May 5, 2014, NM Wild was one of 409 New Mexico organizations participating in Give Grande, a national day of giving. Every non-profit received a donation, and thanks to our members, not only did we raise nearly $7,000, but we also came out first among all environmental groups participating in New Mexico. Thank you so much for your continued support of the work we do!

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    Upcoming events

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    Book Reading: Outdoors in the Southwest

    July 5, 2014 3 p.m
    Booksworks in Albuquerque

    NM Wild is proud to partner with Bookworks and Professor Andrew Gulliford for a reading of his new book, Outdoors in the Southwest, An Adventure Anthology. Meet NM Wild staff and other southwest outdoor enthusiasts, and take the opportunity to meet one of the region’s most trusted environmental historians.

    More college students than ever are majoring in outdoor recreation, outdoor education, or adventure education, but fewer and fewer Americans spend any time in thoughtful, respectful engagement with wilderness. While many young people may think of adrenaline-laced extreme sports as prime outdoor activities, with Outdoors in the Southwest, Gulliford seeks to promote appreciation for and discussion of the wild landscapes where those sports are played.

    Gulliford is professor of history and environmental studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. He is the author of Preserving Western History, Sacred Objects and Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions, Boomtown Blues: Colorado Oil Shale, and America’s Country Schools.

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    Public Meetings

    July 8 & 9
    Carlsbad & Artesia

    The Carlsbad Bureau of Land Management office is holding public meetings on their Lands With Wilderness Characteristics inventory. Please attend if you can! BLM staff members will be available during the workshops to answer questions. If you are interested in attending the workshop or have questions, please RSVP to Owen Lofton, RMP Team Leader, at (575) 234-5923 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Carlsbad
    Tuesday, July 8 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
    National Cave and Karst Research Institute
    400-1 Cascades Ave, Carlsbad, NM 88220

    Artesia
    Wednesday, July 9 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
    Central Valley Electric Cooperative
    403 N. 13th Street Artesia, NM 88211

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    Rio Grande Valley Broad Band Potluck, Invasive Plants Seminar

    July 9, 2014,
    5:30-8:15 p.m.
    Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, Albuquerque

    Join the Great Old Broads for a potluck and invasive plants seminar with Don Heinze. Please bring something to share.

    RSVP

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    Columbine Canyon Hike

    July 12, 2014
    Northern New Mexico

    DESCRIPTION: Come join the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance on a hike in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area (WSA). Local groups and the conservation community are currently working to convert the Columbine Hondo WSA into true wilderness. Legislation has been introduced, and supporters are needed to keep the federal delegation informed about the importance of this landscape and its protection. The hike will begin at the Columbine Campground in the Carson National Forest and take us up Columbine Canyon. Elevation change will be from 7,800 feet to approximately 8,800 feet. Bring your walking shoes and plenty of water and join us for this fabulous outing.

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    Bear Trap Canyon Full Moon Campout

    July 18-20, 2014
    Southwest New Mexico

    DESCRIPTION: The San Mateo Mountains are one of the most remote landscapes that can be explored in the Cibola National Forest. Absence of any significant human development within or near the range has helped to keep the mountains remote and natural. In particular, the scenery found throughout Bear Trap Canyon is exceptional, with numerous open canyons to explore, high ridgelines that offer dramatic views and an abundance of opportunities to be alone and experience wildness. This region is also rich in wildlife, with mule deer, elk, turkey, black bear, and mountain lions all active in the region. We will basecamp at Bear Trap Canyon Campground and spend our days exploring Panther Canyon and Chimney Canyon.

    Learn more and sign up here.

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    Columbine Hondo Llama Trek

    August 2, 2014
    Northern New Mexico

    DESCRIPTION: Wild Earth Llama Adventures is partnering with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance on a llama trip into the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area, Columbine Hondo Canyon. Legislation has been introduced by the New Mexico federal delegation to protect the Columbine Hondo as true wilderness. The Take a Llama to Lunch! wilderness day hike is a great way to experience the unspoiled wilderness near Taos. This signature llama trek offers a taste of the wilderness for those who would like to spend a very special day hiking and exploring in the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains with experienced guides and wooly hiking companions. On the trail, our gentle, sure-footed llamas will carry your gear while experienced naturalist guides share their knowledge of southern Rocky Mountain ecology: native flora and fauna, edible and medicinal plants, natural and regional history, and wilderness living skills. After an inspiring hike at your own pace, you will enjoy a sumptuous feast prepared by the guides in a pristine wilderness setting with some of the most spectacular scenery in the Southwest. Our llamas pack in all the fresh ingredients to make a magnificent gourmet lunch complete with fresh fruits and garden salads, hearty sandwiches on fresh baked breads, natural sodas and delicious desserts to tempt your sweet tooth.

    Learn more and sign up here

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    NM Wild Night Out at O’Niell’s

    August 9, 2014
    Albuquerque

    On Saturday, August 9, NM Wild will serve as guest bartenders at O’Niell’s in Nob Hill Albuquerque. Please put it in your calendars!

    We will be sending out invitations to our Albuquerque-area members the week of the event. Please look for these in the mail! Important: Please bring the invite to the event and O’Niell’s will give $3 to NM Wild. There will also be complementary hors d’ouervres.

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    North Sandia Peak Hike

    August 23, 2014
    Sandia Crest

    We’ll do the hike to North Sandia Peak with field biologist Nathan Peterson. It is a fairly easy 3.6 mile round-trip from the crest. There is a $3 parking fee at the crest, however, federal passes are honored. During the hike, we will discuss some of the mammals found in the Sandia Mountains. Great hike to escape the summer heat!

    Sign up here

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  • These are highlights from our weekly eNews. To receive the full newsletter each week, sign up here. 

    Staff Return from historic Gila Backpack

    Last week, on the 90th anniversary of the Gila Wilderness, our Executive Director Mark Allison and Gila Grassroots Organizer Nathan Newcomer emerged after 10 days and 50 miles of trekking across the Gila. As part of their journey, they read aloud the names of loved ones given to us by our members:

    “At dusk on the third night of our trek through the Gila Wilderness, on the bank of the babbling Gila River, deep in the heart of the Wilderness, many miles from the nearest pavement and below towering rock spires where Wild Cow and Water Canyons intersect with the fast flowing waters, we read aloud the names of your loved ones you entrusted us to carry. We hope you felt the memories come home as you wrote your beautiful letter or penned each name to give to us in preparation for our 50-mile trek.

    Please know that the names we spoke aloud punctuated our time in the Wilderness in a way that is not possible to adequately describe. We can only give back our gratitude to you for allowing us to be in your service in this important way.”

    View photos of the trip

    Looking for Hike Leaders

    We are looking for hike leaders in the Albuquerque area. We would like individuals with a background in nature photography, music, journaling with children, nature writing, and nature painting/drawing. If this sounds like you, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss a future hike! Plus, scroll down to the bottom of this e-mail to check out our new, upcoming hikes this week in the Sandias.

    National Wilderness Conference Registration Now Open

    October 15-19, 2014 – Albuquerque

    Be there. Check out the program and register now. Booths at the conference’s Wilderness Celebration Exhibition and the outdoor Get Wild Festival are still available. Complete the online exhibitor packet to reserve your space today.

    Earth Matters

    In this week’s installment, Earth Matters co-host Donna Stevens of the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance interviews Executive Director Mark Allison and Gila Grassroots Organizer Nathan Newcomer.

    They discuss NM Wild’s mission, projects and goals, the significance and benefits of wilderness areas, and the criteria and process whereby wild landscapes obtain designation as wilderness areas and national monuments. Newcomer sets the record straight on the many misconceptions about activities prohibited and permitted in wilderness areas.

    Listen now

  • Obama takes action on national monuments, 2014 Wolf Conservation Stamp is in, and more in this week’s eNews. View now.

  • Today marks the one-year anniversary of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Learn about a special anniversary party for the national monument, plus updates on all our campaigns in this week’s eNews!

  • Today marks the one-year anniversary of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Learn about a special anniversary party for the national monument, plus updates on all our campaigns in this week’s eNews!

  • Today marks the one-year anniversary of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Learn about a special anniversary party for the national monument, plus updates on all our campaigns in this week’s eNews!

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