WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that the Department of the Interior has accepted a land donation that will increase the Sabinoso Wilderness by nearly 50 percent – the largest wilderness land donation in the agency’s history.
Secretary Haaland celebrated the public lands expansion at an event with Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, former Senator Tom Udall, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández, tribal leaders, and representatives from the Trust for Public Land. The donation of 9,617 acres of the Cañon Ciruela property from the Trust for Public Land to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will help unlock public access for current and future generations to enjoy the area and will stimulate local economies through increased hunting, hiking, horseback riding and other recreational opportunities.
The expansion reflects the Department’s commitment to the “America the Beautiful” initiative, a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of lands, waters, and wildlife by 2030.
“At the Department of the Interior, we know that nature is essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and every community in America,” said Secretary Haaland. “This expansion of the Sabinoso Wilderness helps advance an inclusive and collaborative conservation vision that ensures local communities have access to the great outdoors. Today, we recognize and celebrate the value and beauty of our public lands and open spaces, and commit to preserve them.”
“The BLM thanks the Trust for Public Land for this generous donation and is proud to manage this beautiful area for the American people,” said BLM Deputy Director Nada Culver. “The Trust for Public Land’s donation of the Cañon Ciruela property will provide a second public access point for present and future generations to enjoy the area through hiking, horseback riding and other recreational opportunities.”
The donation of the Cañon Ciruela property provides a second public access point for the community to access the wilderness area. Additionally, the donation permanently protects a critical tributary watershed that feeds into the existing wilderness, and significantly adds to, enhances, and further secures the resource conservation values of the existing designated wilderness area.
In 2017, the BLM accepted a donation of approximately 3,600 acres from The Wilderness Land Trust for inclusion in Sabinoso Wilderness. That donation provided public access for the first time to the Sabinoso Wilderness, which was previously completely locked behind private lands.