November 1, 2016
New Mexico Conservation Project Benefits Elk,
Habitat, Hunters, Hikers, and History
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with a conservation-minded family and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to permanently protect and open access to 5,867 acres of prime wildlife habitat in west-central New Mexico.
“We appreciate the Roberson family in allowing us to conserve this unique piece of New Mexico landscape,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “It is now available for the public to access and also improves access to approximately 35,000 acres of surrounding public lands.”
The Alamocita Creek property is located about 20 miles northeast of Pie Town. It knits together more than five miles of public lands by connecting BLM lands to the Cibola National Forest.
“We thank the RMEF for their collaboration with the BLM for this outstanding acquisition,” said Amy Lueders, BLM New Mexico state director. “Their expertise and financial contribution were instrumental in securing the property for the benefit of current and future users of the area.”
The property contains vital summer and winter range that is home to more than 1,000 elk as well as mule deer, antelope, black bears and a variety of other wildlife including 25 at-risk species. More than five miles of Alamocita Creek runs through the property creating quality riparian habitat in a state where such habitat represents less than one percent of the land coverage.
The transaction also allows the BLM to consider a reroute of 52 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
“The protection of the land along Alamocita Creek by the Bureau of Land Management using Land and Water Conservation Fund money will close the last major gap in the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in New Mexico. It will also likely lead to the elimination of over 50 miles of ‘road walking’ for trail users while providing an opportunity to enjoy the riparian ecosystems along Alamocita Creek. Thanks to BLM staff and others involved in making this resource conservation success happen,” said Gary Werner, Partnership for the National Trails System executive director.
RMEF conveyed the property to the BLM in late October. This property is now public land, opened to hunting and other outdoor recreational activities.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, BLM and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment provided funding for the project.