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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is it?
About one hour southwest of Tucson, Arizona.

How big is it?
117,464 acres.

Why is it here?
Refuge objectives include preservation and restoration of grasslands for the benefit of wildlife, particularly the endangered masked bobwhite quail.

What can I do there?
Visitors can enjoy wildlife-dependent activities, including wildlife watching, birding, hiking, picnicking, educational programs, wildlife photography and hunting.

Considering that you are located on the border, is it safe and worth the trip?
Despite being located close to the border, we have many visitors that come year after year because of the wonderful experiences they have had. People often consider us a hidden gem and we receive many letters from the public expressing their appreciation for the refuge. We do recommend that you keep your valuables on you and make sure that you lock your vehicles when you leave them unattended. One area of the refuge remains closed until further notice to ensure your safety. See the map here.

I see a lot of border related litter on the refuge. Are there clean up teams?
Staff and volunteers work hard to remove litter as we come across it. Thousands of bags of litter have been removed to date and the effort will continue for the benefit and well-being of the wildlife.

Are humanitarian aid groups allowed to operate on refuge?
National wildlife refuges are for wildlife. It is the refuge’s responsibility to ensure that anyone coming on to the refuge for any purpose beyond the wildlife-conservation mission must apply for a special use permit. Permits ensure that anyone asking to access the refuge (beyond what is available to the general public) are treated equally and, most importantly, permits ensure that what is being proposed will not compromise the needs of wildlife and habitat. Visit the Permits page of this website for general information on applying for a permit. For details on findings on humanitarian water placement on refuge, see the 2010 Compatibility Determination and a Questions and Answers sheet.

I heard about a proposed natural gas pipeline going through the refuge. What is the status?
The planning is in the early stages with two proposed routes, one of which goes through the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. For more information, visit the Federal Energy Regulation Commission website and enter docket number: PF-12-11.
The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge has responded to El Paso Natural Gas with the attached letter.

What is a cienega?
A cienega is a spring-fed wetland. It is a Spanish word and it is derived from its literal translation is ‘hundred waters’ or 'cien aguas.'

How can I get a job with the refuge?
All federal jobs, including those with Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, are announced and can be applied for at

Last Updated: Oct 17, 2012
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