The Department of the Interior accepted a land donation that will increase the Sabinoso Wilderness in New Mexico by nearly 50 percent, the largest wilderness land donation in the agency’s history.
The department said the donation to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) totaled 9,617 acres of the Cañon Ciruela property from the Trust for Public Land. Increased land will help unlock public access for current and future generations to enjoy the area, the Interior Department said, and will stimulate local economies through increased hunting, hiking, horseback riding and other recreational opportunities.
“At the Department of the Interior, we know that nature is essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and every community in America,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. “This expansion of the Sabinoso Wilderness helps advance an inclusive and collaborative conservation vision that ensures local communities have access to the great outdoors. “Today, we recognize and celebrate the value and beauty of our public lands and open spaces, and commit to preserve them.”
The property donation provides a second public access point for the community to access the wilderness area. Additionally, the donation permanently protects a tributary watershed that feeds into the existing wilderness.
“The BLM thanks the Trust for Public Land for this generous donation and is proud to manage this beautiful area for the American people,” BLM Deputy Director Nada Culver said.
In 2017, the BLM accepted a donation of approximately 3,600 acres from The Wilderness Land Trust for inclusion in Sabinoso Wilderness. The 2017 donation provided public access to the Sabinoso Wilderness for the first time. Previously, the site was completely locked behind private lands.
Among the officials at the acceptance event were Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, former Sen. Tom Udall, Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, Tribal leaders and representatives from the Trust for Public Land.