People in New Mexico and Colorado have been advocating for years for the Forest Service to protect areas important to wildlife habitat and movement in upcoming forest plans. These plans will serve as a guide for how our forests will be managed for the next 20 years. It’s critical that the public weigh in now with the Forest Service to speak up for protecting wildlife and wildlife corridors – your voice now will make a difference for decades to come. To comment, click here.
Learn more about the areas that must be created to protect wildlife for decades to come.
Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado
Spruce Hole / Osier / Toltec Special Interest Area
Big game use this 36,000 acre area to move back and forth from southern Colorado into northern New Mexico. It directly connects with the proposed San Antonio management area on the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. Protecting this important habitat is not only critical to the survival of elk, pronghorn and mule deer, it is key to the economic health of nearby local communities that depend on outdoor recreation industries.
Chama Basin Watershed Protection Special Interest Area
The 17,790 acre Chama Basin Watershed Special Interest Area encompasses the headwaters of the Rio Chama and is the drinking water source for the town of Chama. The area is rich in biological diversity and is the home to lynx, a federally protected threatened species in the United States. Mule deer use this area for summer range and then migrate south for the winter. Mule deer populations in the region have been decreasing, which makes protecting this area even more urgent. Numerous migratory birds also make their home here for many months of the year.
Unfortunately, the Rio Grande National Forest plan failed to establish protections for these special areas.
Carson National Forest in New Mexico
Valle Vidal Special Management Area
The Vallle Vidal (“Valley of Life”) Management Area stretches over 100,000 acres of rolling grassland surrounded by conifers, bristlecone pines and aspen stands. Protecting this area from new road building and other development will preserve important wildlife corridors, including migration routes used by elk to reach calving grounds in the Valle Vidal. The area is home to one of New Mexico’s largest elk herds.
San Antonio Management Area
The San Antonio Management Area is comprised of 148,000 acres of rolling grassland surrounded by conifers, ponderosa pines and aspen stands. This area connects to the Spruce Hole area in Colorado and is adjacent to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. This entire region contains important migration corridors for mule deer and pronghorn. It is also an important area for wintering and calving elk herds.
Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico
Caja del Rio Management Area
Bordering Bandelier National Monument and connecting various western mountain ranges, the Caja del Rio Wildlife and Cultural Interpretive Management Area is a place of profound cultural and historical significance. It contains ancestral homes of modern Pueblo communities and the remains of historic trails, such as the Camino Real del Tierra Adentro trade route. Humans aren’t the only ones to have traversed this landscape for millennia. Numerous wildlife corridors cross this land. As one of the most ecologically rich habitats in North America, the proposed Caja del Rio area connects to a mosaic of federal, state and tribal lands. By conserving the Caja del Rio, we protect important habitat for migration to all of these areas. The Caja del Rio is home to herds of mule deer and elk. Black bears, cougars, western burrowing owls and golden eagles also make their home in this area.