Public Access to New Mexico Wilderness Achieved

New Mexico
Public Access to New Mexico Wilderness Achieved

LAS VEGAS, N.M. -( Public lands sportsmen and women are celebrating as a deal is inked that will open the Sabinoso Wilderness in northeastern New Mexico to the public for the first time.

The Interior Department announced on Thursday its decision to accept donated lands adjacent to the Sabinoso that include a road easement enabling hunters, anglers and others to access the wilderness.

The annexation of the 3,595-acre Rimrock Rose Ranch was brokered by the Wilderness Land Trust and long advocated for by sportsmen, who had urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to uphold his pledge to pursue public access opportunities and open the New Mexico wilderness to citizens.

BHA President and CEO Land Tawney, who visited the wilderness with Sec. Zinke and members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation in July, commended the diverse efforts that led to success in the Sabinoso.

“Today was a good day for public access,” said Tawney. “A deal has been signed to expand and provide access to the Sabinoso Wilderness, which until today was the only inaccessible wilderness in the United States. Senator Heinrich and Senator Udall deserve major kudos for their unwavering doggedness to get this project across the finish line. Secretary Zinke deserves credit for listening to hunters and recognizing a good deal for all Americans. The generous landowner who made possible this victory has set an example for others to follow. Finally, sportsmen and women deserve credit for raising their voices. We have been heard. Let’s go hunting!”

The Sabinoso Wilderness provides habitat to abundant populations of elk, deer, turkey and Barbary sheep. Thousands of public lands sportsmen have signed a BHA petition urging Sec. Zinke to accept the donation of the Rimrock Rose and open access where none existed.

“I am elated!” said Jesse Deubel, a BHA member from Edgewood, New Mexico. “As a lifelong resident of New Mexico I am truly humbled by the tremendous support for the effort to provide access to Sabinoso from sportsmen and women from across the country. Senator Martin Heinrich has once again proven he is a champion for public lands and access to those lands.

“The bottom line is that tomorrow I can take my children to explore roughly 20,000 acres of wild, public lands that were not accessible to us yesterday,” Deubel stated. “The recreational value of this land is nearly as expansive as the historical value. The only value greater than these is the contribution this magnificent landscape will provide to future generations!”

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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Backcountry Hunters and AnglersAbout Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:

Our freedom to hunt and fish depends on habitat. While many of us enjoy hunting and fishing on a range of landscapes, including farm fields and reservoirs, there is something special – even magical – about hunting deep in the backcountry or fishing on a remote river.

Wilderness hunting and fishing deliver a sense of freedom, challenge and solitude that is increasingly trampled by the twin pressures of growing population and increasing technology. Many treasured fish and wildlife species – such as cutthroat trout, grizzly bear and bighorn sheep – thrive in wilderness. Others, like elk and mule deer, benefit from wilderness. From the Steens Mountain Wilderness in Oregon to the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, BHA members treasure America's wilderness system and strive to add to it.

We take the advice of Theodore Roosevelt: “Preserve large tracts of wilderness … for the exercise of the skill of the hunter, whether or not he is a man of means.”

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