Land trust expands wilderness area

In July 2021, The Trust for Public Land and the Bureau of Land Management announced the expansion of the remote Sabinoso Wilderness Area in northeast New Mexico, which represents the largest land donation to a federal wilderness area in U.S. history.

By Kirsten Ferguson March 28

In July 2021, The Trust for Public Land and the Bureau of Land Management announced the expansion of the remote Sabinoso Wilderness Area in northeast New Mexico, which represents the largest land donation to a federal wilderness area in U.S. history.

The wilderness near Las Vegas, New Mexico, includes high, narrow mesas and cliff-lined canyons. The deep canyon area, surrounded by the wide-open New Mexico plains, is unique for the region. The beautiful and rugged landscape has long been difficult to access due to surrounding private property. The public has only been able to access the wilderness area since 2017, thanks to a land donation of 3,600 acres from the Wilderness Land Trust.

In 2020, TPL purchased 8,947 acres with plans to donate it to BLM as an addition to the wilderness area. In March of 2021, TPL acquired an additional 908 acres from the Wilderness Land Trust to add to the donation. Working with New Mexico leadership and partners, TPL has now conveyed the entire property to BLM, expanding the existing wilderness area, adding a future second public access point and creating greater opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The expansion of Sabinoso Wliderness Area will give “nearby communities and visitors alike more access to the outdoors and nature,” says Diane Regas, TPL’s president and CEO.

This article was originally published on the Land Trust Alliance blog in Sept. 2021.