SANTA FE, N.M. — Public access to New Mexico’s 16,000-acre Sabinoso Wilderness – entirely “landlocked” by private land – moved closer to reality today on news the nonprofit Wilderness Land Trust bought adjacent property that could soon allow hikers, hunters, backpackers and others access to it.
The purchase of the 4,176-acre Rimrock Rose property, made possible by a $3.1 million contribution from the Wyss Foundation, could allow public access to the Sabinoso by summer.
“We’ve been working on creating access to the Sabinoso Wilderness since it was proposed for designation,” said Reid Haughey, president of The Wilderness Land Trust. “To the best of our knowledge, Sabinoso is the only wilderness area among the 762 wilderness areas within the National Wilderness Preservation System that does not have public access.”
The Sabinoso Wilderness, created by Congress in 2009, is a rugged back-country area east of Las Vegas, N.M., that is home to mule deer, bobcats, gray foxes and a wide range of plant and animal species that are home to the high plains. The headwaters of the Canadian River runs through the Rimrock Rose property and Canyon Largo.
“We are proud to be able to help local leaders and The Wilderness Land Trust as they expand access for fishing, hunting, hiking, and recreation in New Mexico’s prized backcountry,” said Molly McUsic, President of the Wyss Foundation.