NM wilderness area grows with large donation - Albuquerque Journal

NM wilderness area grows with large donation

1931450
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland looks out at the Sabinoso Wilderness in Las Vegas, N.M., after accepting a land donation from the Trust for Public Land to the Bureau of Land Management on Saturday. The donation increases the size of the Sabinoso Wilderness in northeastern New Mexico by nearly 50. (Felicia A. Salazar/U.S. Department of the Interior)

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited her home state Saturday to celebrate what marks the largest wilderness land donation in the agency’s history and another addition to the nation’s landholdings as the Biden administration aims to conserve nearly one-third of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

The 15-square-mile donation from the Trust for Public Land increases the size of the Sabinoso Wilderness Area in northeastern New Mexico by nearly 50%. The property includes rugged canyons, mesas covered by piñon and juniper woodlands, pockets of ponderosa pine trees and savannah-like grasslands.

Haaland, who joined other officials at a remote site in San Miguel County, acknowledged that the area makes up part of the ancestral homelands of the Jicarilla Apaches and northern pueblos of New Mexico. She said that for generations, families have relied on the land for sustenance and that it means a lot to many people who visit the area in search of peace and quiet.

“We’re here today because we recognize the importance of preserving this special place,” she said in prepared remarks, adding: “We know that nature is essential to the health, well-being and prosperity of every family and every community.”

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, third from left, cuts a ribbon at the Sabinoso Wilderness to accept a land donation from the Trust for Public Land to the Bureau of Land Management. Others, from left, are Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-N.M., Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and representatives from the Trust for Public Land. (Felicia A. Salazar/U.S. Department of the Interior)

The Biden administration issued a report earlier this year titled “America the Beautiful.” It called for a decade-long commitment on projects nationwide to make the conservation and restoration of lands and waters an urgent priority. The lofty plan aims to purify drinking water, increase green space, improve access to recreation, restore fisheries, reduce wildfire risks and recognize the contributions of farmers, ranchers, rural communities, Indigenous tribes and others.

Haaland said areas like Sabinoso Wilderness are an important piece of the puzzle as the administration looks to meet its goal.

“This kind of collaboration that you see today is how we will reach that target over the next decade,” she said.

The Sabinoso gained federal wilderness protection in 2009, but was inaccessible for visitors since the federal parcel was landlocked by private holdings.

Through the work of conservation groups and members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation, the Bureau of Land Management accepted a donation in 2017 of nearly 6 square miles from The Wilderness Land Trust. That provided public access for the first time.

Now, the donation from the Trust for Public Land provides a second access point as well as permanent protections for a tributary that feeds into the existing wilderness.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, first visited the Sabinoso Wilderness Area about 15 years ago and has been working ever since to get it opened up to the public. He has described it as “one of New Mexico’s most spectacular landscapes.”

The area supports an array of wildlife, from elk and deer to mountain lions, turkey and bears.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks at the Sabinoso Wilderness to accept a land donation from the Trust for Public Land to the Bureau of Land Management. (Felicia A. Salazar/U.S. Department of the Interior)
Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » NM wilderness area grows with large donation


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Safety upgrades urged for site of Amtrak wreck that ...
ABQnews Seeker
A Missouri Department of Transportation plan ... A Missouri Department of Transportation plan released this year cited a need to improve safety at the rail crossing where an Amtrak train and ...
2
BernCo reopens East Mountains open spaces
ABQnews Seeker
Bernalillo County is reopening some of ... Bernalillo County is reopening some of its open space properties it had previously closed due to fire concerns. The county announced in a news ...
3
Water worries
ABQnews Seeker
Ash, debris from burned trees threaten ... Ash, debris from burned trees threaten acequias
4
US Marshals in ABQ shoot, kill fugitive who left ...
ABQnews Seeker
Investigators say man was armed with ... Investigators say man was armed with gun
5
Governor appoints new IT secretary
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico hoping for broadband expansion ... New Mexico hoping for broadband expansion to rural areas
6
Freedom 4th Celebration is back in ABQ after absence
ABQnews Seeker
Thanks to generous amounts of recent ... Thanks to generous amounts of recent rainfall, the grass is lush and green at Balloon ...
7
Rains ease drought, but flooding threats loom
ABQnews Seeker
Some portions of state received over ... Some portions of state received over half their typical average rainfall
8
More support sought for early childhood education
ABQnews Seeker
Land Grant Permanent fund would be ... Land Grant Permanent fund would be drawn on
9
Sunday shooting deaths of husband, wife will be investigated ...
ABQnews Seeker
Son had been charged with killing ... Son had been charged with killing father; father suspected of killin