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Sabinoso Wilderness Deal Finalized After Years of Advocacy by Sportsmen and Women

November 9, 2017

For immediate release

ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico Wildlife Federation worked on the ground with the sportsmen and women of northern New Mexico for years to open up the Sabinoso Wilderness, the only inaccessible wilderness in the country. Today the deal was finalized, and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation applauds the hundreds of sportsmen and women, elected officials, and community members who worked for years to get this unique landscape open to the public.

NMWF toured the area in July with Secretary Ryan Zinke, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and San Miguel County Commissioner Rock Ulibarri, at which time the Secretary said he felt the land deal should go through. While we hoped the area would be open by the beginning of hunting season, we are excited by the finalization of this deal today.

Up until now, the 16,000 acre area could only be accessed through private lands. Last year, the Wilderness Land Trust purchased the Rimrock Rose Ranch in order to donate the land to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) so it could be open to the public. Thanks to the hard work of Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and the hundreds of NMWF members who signed our petition calling on Zinke to open up access, the Interior Department announced its intention to finalize the land donation in July and the finalization of the deal today. Created by Congress in 2009, the Sabinoso Wilderness is a backcountry area east of Las Vegas, New Mexico that is home to mule deer, turkey, elk, and a wide range of plant and animal species.

“I am proud to announce that the Sabinoso Wilderness will finally be unlocked – allowing the public to experience this stunning landscape that we all own. This is a major gain for New Mexico and would not be possible without the generosity of the Wilderness Land Trust and the dedication of the local community and sportsmen who have championed this effort for many years. Traditions like hunting, hiking, and fishing are among the pillars of Western culture and a thriving outdoor recreation economy. Through this collaborative effort to create public access to the Sabinoso we will ensure that outdoor enthusiasts from near and far can finally experience all that this special landscape has to offer and safeguard it for our children and all future generations.”

“So many people worked so hard to get this deal through,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation Executive Director Garrett Vene Klasen. “It’s amazing to see all the hard work put in by our NMWF members, Senator Heinrich, sportsmens groups, and the local community finally pay off. I look forward to seeing our members enjoy this new hunting area for years to come, and applaud everyone who made this happen.”