About the Refuge
Spanish for ‘the meadows,’ Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge’s history dates as far back as 8,000 BC when old world Indians inhabited the high plains area.
Pueblo Indians also spent time living in this region, until the 1100s when drought and Apaches forced them out. In the mid-1500s, Spanish conquistadors and missionaries explored and settled the region, and the influence of Spanish culture is still felt today. Westward expansion continued in the late 1800s, and by the turn of the century, the Santa Fe Trail and the railroad made Las Vegas, New Mexico, the place to be.
In 1965, the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge was established by the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Action for the benefit of migratory birds. The 8,672-acre refuge represents one of the few sizeable wetland areas remaining in New Mexico. It is open to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife watching, hiking, hunting, educational and interpretive programs and special events.
It is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters set aside and managed for the benefit of wildlife, habitat and you.