August 9, 2017

New Mexico Wild Celebrates Expanded Access to Sabinoso Wilderness Area

The Department of Interior announced today its intention to add approximately 4,000 acres to the 16,030-acre Sabinoso Wilderness east of Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Created in 2009, Sabinoso has been surrounded by private property, making it the only “landlocked” wilderness area in the country.  Today’s announcement not only marks the first expansion of a wilderness area in the country by the Trump administration but also the culmination of a nearly decade-long effort to provide access to the public.

Today’s announcement was made possible by the Wilderness Land Trust which purchased the Rimrock Rose Ranch for the purpose of donating it to the public to own in perpetuity.  The area will be managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The Sabinoso Wilderness is a rugged backcountry area that is characterized by its remoteness, red rock canyons, archaeological sites and solitude.  It is home to elk, mule deer, mountain lions, and wild turkey.  The headwaters of the Canadian River run through Cañon Largo. Cañon Largo was a well-traveled route used by native people for centuries and by cavalry traveling from Fort Union to Fort Bascom in the 19th century.

Interest from residents of San Miguel County and throughout New Mexico has been high and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (New Mexico Wild) is gratified that the public will finally have the opportunity to visit this beautiful area to hike, backpack, photograph, hunt and ride horses.

New Mexico Wild organized dozens of volunteers who donated nearly 1,000 hours to make the former ranch ready for transfer to the National Wilderness Preservation System by removing fencing, corrals and other structures. 

 “This is a dream come true for many New Mexicans who worked for years to permanently protect this wild and spectacular place and to secure access for the public.  I’m proud that senators Udall and Heinrich pressed Secretary Zinke to visit this area personally so he could see for himself how special it is.  I’m hopeful that the Secretary will now make the right decision to keep the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains Desert Peaks national monuments intact as well,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild.


ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. Founded nearly 30 years ago, the organization is aligned with our nation’s landmark Wilderness Act of 1964 and is dedicated to the rights and the value of citizen involvement in protecting increasingly rare wild places within public lands. Just as freedom is every American’s birthright so too is Wilderness. We know they are inseparable. We hold this truth dearly as we preserve Wilderness from generation to generation for us, for all species and for its own sake.



Contact: Mark Allison, Executive Director, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, 505-239-0906