19 September 2012 New Refuge Unit Established in Sangre de Cristo Mountains Posted by: Alex Slippen | Leave a comment | Share: The Department of the Interior may not be what one would call a higher power, but on September 14, they graced us all by designating the nation’s 558th National Wildlife Refuge Unit in Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo —“blood of Christ” — Mountains. Spanning throughout southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are known for breathtaking landscapes and abundant recreational opportunities. Numerous types of uncommon, region-specific wildlife also call the place home, including the Canada lynx, Gunnison sage grouse, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, and Lewis’ woodpecker. The land was donated by conservationist Louis Bacon and encompasses 77,000 acres of his Trinchera Ranch property in the mountains. These acres, combined with the anticipated donation of his 90,000 acre Blanca Ranch later this year, will mark the largest private land donation ever received by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The donation also represents an unusual three-way agreement between the federal government, a private land owner, and an environmental land trust (Colorado Open Lands, a local organization dedicated to land conservation). Under the agreement, the land will technically remain under Bacon’s ownership, but will have restrictions on development and increased habitat protections as overseen by the Fish and Wildlife Service as well as Colorado Open Lands. So what does it all mean? Colorado now has 77,000 more acres that will be actively managed for the preservation of the wildlife and habitats within it. Further, it represents a level of cooperation between several organizations that is not about money or showmanship, but hopefully the increased preservation of diverse wildlife in an area filled with it. It represents a hope that separate parties with often disparate interests can work together to protect valuable land and the wildlife that goes along with it. To learn more about the Department of the Interior’s establishment of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area, please read their news release on the conservation announcement. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit? Ecological Insults and Injuries Revealed Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Four years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’re beginning to see the full scope of how this ecological disaster is impacting our wildlife on land, air and sea.