SANTA FE, N.M. – The National Wildlife Federation commended the U.S. Forest Service for including important protections for wildlife corridors in its final management plans for the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests in New Mexico. Elk, mule deer, pronghorn and many other species depend on these connected pathways for food, mating, and seasonal migrations.
“We applaud the U.S. Forest Service for listening to a diverse group of stakeholders and community leaders, who advocated for the protection of these special management areas,” said Andrew Black, field director for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “The Upper Rio Grande Valley is one of the most intact wildlife landscapes in the nation. Protecting these critical pathways in the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests ensures that this region will continue to be a model for wildlife corridor conservation for the entire nation.”
For several years, the National Wildlife Federation has worked with Tribal leaders, hunters, anglers, traditional land users, private landowners, and a diverse array of community members in New Mexico and Colorado to advocate for special management areas that are important for the survival of wildlife and cultural traditions in the Upper Rio Grande region.
In the Santa Fe National Forest, the Caja del Rio Wildlife and Cultural Interpretive Special Management Area is home to herds of mule deer, elk, and a wide variety of unique plant and animal species. This important landscape also contains various cultural, archeological, sacred, and historical sites. In the Carson National Forest, the Valle Vidal and San Antonio Special Management Areas provide critical wildlife habitat for various species, such as pronghorn and elk, and are essential to big game migration between New Mexico and Colorado.