Dripping Springs - 2,852 acres Dona Ana County (1988)
Description: Nestled at the base of the Organ Mountains on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, Dripping Springs features a number of sheer canyons with permanent water sources and a wealth of natural habitats containing great biological diversity. The naturally occurring water sources allow for the survival of such varied plants as velvet ash, netleaf hackberry and the endangered Organ Mountain evening primrose. Bird species include Red-naped sapsuckers, Prairie falcons and Canyon wrens. The site is managed by the BLM.
Directions & Visitor Status: From Interstate 25 in Las Cruces, take the University exit. Go east on University Blvd. until you see signs for the Dripping Springs Natural Area's A.B. Cox Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is open to the public from 9-5 daily except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The preserve is open from 8:00 a.m.. to sunset year round. The day use fee is $3.00.
Edward Sargent Fish and Wildlife Area - 20,208 acres Rio Arriba County (1976)
Description: The Edward Sargent Fish and Wildlife Area borders the Chama River just south of the New Mexico/Colorado state line. The area holds a major portion of the Chamita River Valley and forms a broad basin of grasslands and wildflowers which provide excellent habitat for deer and elk. The wildlife area is now owned and managed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
Directions & Visitor Status: In the village of Chama on New Mexico Highway 17, take Pine Street, which is two blocks west of the main street, north out of the village to the wildlife area. Open to the public.
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge - 220,000 acres Socorro County (1973)
Description: The acquisition of the Sevilleta Ranch near Socorro was the Conservancy's first New Mexico project. It has since become the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and encompasses desert grassland and a portion of the Rio Grande river valley. The refuge is host to the University of New Mexico's Long Term Ecological Research Station (LTER) -- one of twenty LTERs in the nation -- which focuses on global warming trends and other major environmental concerns.
Directions & Visitor Status: Limited visitation as the refuge is reserved for scientific research. However, a new visitor and education center opened in Oct.2001. From Albuquerque, take I25 south to exit 169. The visitors center is west of the interstate. For more information contact: (505) 864-4021.
And outside your own backyard… are even more projects which are the result of partnerships between the Conservancy and other organizations working together to conserve New Mexico’s enchantment. Some of these include:
- The Albuquerque volcanoes: Located west of Albuquerque and Boca Negra Cave, and formed over 100,000 years ago, the volcanoes were the dynamic finale to a series of fissure eruptions that coated the surrounding landscape in a basalt caprock. The park is managed by National Park Service. To access the volcanoes exit I-40 at Paseo del Vulcan (exit 149) and travel north 4.8 miles to park access.
- San Andres National Wildlife Refuge: 30 miles northeast of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The mountain range, which lies within the northernmost extension of the Chihuahuan Desert, rises to an elevation of 8,229 feet at San Andres peak. Refuge habitats vary from creosote and Chihuahuan desert grasslands in the bajadas to pinyon-juniper woodlands on the mountaintops. Presently the Refuge supports the largest population of State-listed endangered desert bighorn sheep in New Mexico.
- Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge: 9 miles northeast of Roswell, NM. One of the more biologically significant wetland areas of the Pecos River watershed system. From Roswell, take U.S. 380 (Second Street) east about three miles to a refuge sign at Red Bridge Road. Or take U.S. 285 (Main Street) north to Pine Lodge Road. From the turnoff, it is about seven miles to refuge headquarters, following directional signs.
- Corrales Bosque: Now managed by the Village of Corrales, this 400-acre, 7.8 mile preserve offers the best-known example of middle Rio Grande broadleaf deciduous forest. The Preserve also provides habitat for more than 180 species of migrating and nesting birds.
- Rattlesnake Springs: Adjacent to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Rattlesnake Springs Preserve consists of a one half mile wetland and small stream where sedges, rushes and cattails flourish.
- Blue Hole Cienega: The Nature Conservancy assisted the New Mexico State Forestry Division’s Rare and Endangered Plant Program in the purchase of 116 acres of the Blue Hole Cienega, a wetland near Santa Rosa, to protect habitat for the rare Pecos sunflower.
- Picacho Peak: Located outside of Las Cruces, the peak is over 9 million years old and its summit climbs nearly 5,000 feet above sea level providing stunning views of southern New Mexico. Making its place in history, the peak was a major landmark on the Butterfield Trail and was part of the Gadsden Purchase in 1854. Now, Picacho Peak is part of a 1,000-acre designated recreation area maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and limited to non-motorized recreation. The peak is also still part of a grazing lease for cattle. Currently, the BLM is currently working on improvements including a trail-head parking area, trail improvements and a trail map
- El Jornada Bat Caves (Privately owned. The Conservancy owns the mineral rights)