Río Grande del Norte

Some of the most ecologically and culturally significant land in the state of New Mexico is at risk due to development and other threats unless we act to protect it permanently.

Part of the Río Grande del Norte region was designated as a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2013, including the iconic Río Grande Gorge, but stretches of this biologically diverse area still deserve to be protected as wilderness.  

Dominated by the 10,000-foot-tall Cerro del Yuta (or Ute Mountain), the Río Grande del Norte contains habitat for wildlife including elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and golden eagles, and offers scenic vistas including wildflower-covered plains; the forested slopes of Carson National Forest; and the snow-capped peaks of the San Juan Mountains in the distance. We are working to protect wilderness here for future generations.

Work we are doing

Río Grande del Norte National Monument. Credit: Bob Wick (BLM), flickr.

Wildlands designation

The Río Grande del Norte region is known for its stunning landscape, studded with volcanic cones, wildlife corridors and lush plant life ranging from white pine to plains of western wheatgrass. The Wilderness Society is trying to preserve the area’s rich habitat and outdoor recreation resources  by working with elected officials to move several wilderness designation proposals through Congress. Once these proposals are passed, 21,420 acres of Río Grande del Norte’s wildest landscapes will enjoy the government’s highest level of protection.

Cerro del Yuta Wilderness proposal

The proposed Cerro del Yuta Wilderness would protect land surrounding the iconic Cerro del Yuta that includes piñon pine, Douglas fir and grassland as well as habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife a little south of the Colorado border.

The rugged area is considered a great destination for intrepid adventurers. At 10,093 feet in elevation, Cerro del Yuta is the highest point on Bureau of Land Management land in all of New Mexico.

Bighorn sheep in Rio Grande del Norte. Credit: BLM, flickr.

Río San Antonio Wilderness proposal

The proposed Río San Antonio Wilderness would lie adjacent to San Antonio Mountain, comprising an open expanse of mostly grass- and shrub-dotted plains. A gorge carved by the Río San Antonio also runs through the area, complete with stretches of Douglas Fir and spruce. 

Our partners

The Wilderness Society’s campaign to protect the Río Grande del Norte region has involved years of work with the local communities that take pride in their natural heritage and want to preserve their land for future generations.

  • Alex Thompson

    Today, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management announced a new methane waste rule to replace its own regulations that went into effect only about one year ago. The new rule eliminates important environmental and public health protections established under the 2016 rule and will result in increased natural gas waste and reduced taxpayer revenue.

    The following statement is from Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society:

  • Michael Reinemer

    President Trump’s infrastructure and budget proposals are essentially Valentine’s gifts to oil, gas, coal and other extractive interests.

    The plans would increase fossil fuel development on public lands, weaken environmental safeguards, drain funds from conservation programs and even allow selling off public lands to pay for infrastructure.

    Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society, said:

  • Michael Reinemer

    Public lands and environmental protections would be steamrolled under President Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan according to The Wilderness Society’s review of leaked White House documents.  His proposed fiscal year 2019 budget would likely further hobble budgets of federal land management agencies and choke vital programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Both are expected to be released on February 12.

    Drew McConville, Senior Managing Director at The Wilderness Society, said: