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  • Young bull elk / Refuge remote camera, USFWS

    Sharing Our Firsts With You

    With our refuge closed to the public, we're highlighting animals seen for the first time on the refuge since its establishment in 1941!

  • Black bear photographed on the refuge (blonde coated) / M. Weisenberger, USFWS

    Most Startling!

    A few years ago, the first documented and photographed black bear was sighted on the refuge! A few more are seen today. Blonde coat color.

    North American black bear

  • Male painted redstart songbird / M. Weisenberger, USFWS

    Something to Tweet About

    An adult painted redstart sighting was a new bird species record for the refuge and White Sands Missile Range in Doña Ana County. A Male.

  • Javelina trio / Refuge remote camera, USFWS

    Having a "Rootin" Good Time!

    Javelina, or collared peccary, are regularly seen on the refuge now! Their rooting behavior digs up cactus and plants to feed upon.

  • Northern parula warbler female / J. Gahr, USFWS

    Our Most Recent Visitor

    During the refuge's current bird banding season, a new visitor was seen for the first time. A male Nashville warbler. Another Record!

Support for our Neighboring Refuge

Cooperative Agricultural Program

Farming on refuge crop lands / USFWS

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge seeks Agricultural Producers for a Cooperative Agricultural Program on the refuge. Two agricultural producers will be selected based on a sealed bid process and operate under a Forage Production and Harvest Agreement for a period of five years. Area Meetings will be held to provide details on the Program, including one in Hatch on Thursday, December 18. Meeting locations and dates can be viewed below.

News Release on Cooperative Agricultural Program

Printable-Fillable Forms for Meetings

Forage Production and Harvest Agreement

C Map Forage Ag

Additional information and Forms for the upcoming Meetings referenced above can be found in the link below. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge cordially invites Farmers and Growers for an opportunity to participate in our refuge's Cooperative Agricultural Program. Included is the: FORAGE PRODUCTION AND HARVEST AGREEMENT PROSPECTUS AND INVITATION FOR APPLICATIONS and Attachment C - Wetland / Crop Rotation Map.

Forage Agreement and Map Forms

No Public Access, For Your Protection

Bringing San Andres National Wildlife Refuge to You

Mountain lion / Refuge remote camera, USFWS

Our public website strives to bring the scenic beauty of San Andres National Wildlife Refuge to you. The refuge is not open to the public due to its location and for security and safety protocols. Minimal access on the refuge preserves its pristine habitat which provides an invaluable natural laboratory for scientific and research studies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have over 125 National Wildlife Refuges that are regularly closed to the public due to their location, for the protection of key species, and for public safety. San Andres National Wildlife Refuge's lands and native species will continue to be preserved to their historic state for generations to come.

No Public Access

Wild Facts

Leader in Energy Conservation

Refuge office Wind Generator at sunrise / C. Bartram, USFWS

San Andres National Wildlife Refuge was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with a 2008 Federal Energy and Water Management Award. This honor was for efficient use of wind and water natural resources. The refuge is an area leader in the use of hybrid solar photovoltaic and wind energy systems.

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

Follow NWRS Online


Our Old West Area is Rich in History!

  • New Monument To Our South

    Organ Mountains with snowcapped peaks / G. Powers, USFWS

    The beautiful, "purple mountains majesty," Organ Mountains were designated by presidential proclamation on May 21, 2014 as a National Monument titled: Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The Organ Mountains' range and this new National Monument are located just to the south of the San Andres Mountain range and San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. The Organ Mountains are one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the nation and frequently display the breathtaking purple hues on the west side of the range when the sun sets. The Monument is managed by the Bureau of Land Management - Las Cruces District which is an Agency under the Department of the Interior, as is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

    Presidential Proclamation
  • Organ Mountains Photo Gallery

    View some of our refuge staff and refuge volunteers' photographs of the famous, picturesque Organ Mountains.

    A Photo Gallery tribute to the new National Monument
  • Pioneering Refuge Manager

    28 hour old desert bighorn sheep lamb

    San Andres National Wildlife Refuge's second Refuge Manager, Cecil Kennedy, was a real cowboy. He served as the refuge's Manager for 23 years before his retirement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was one of the last refuge managers to conduct wildlife surveys on foot and horseback. A quote, from one of Kennedy's fellow refuge employees, Tom Emanuel, describes Kennedy as “looking like John Wayne.” "He was daring on horseback. He would do things others would consider risky, to cover the area. He was very good at what he did.” Tom Emanuel also remembers how "Kennedy loved those sheep." (This referred to a native, remnant herd of desert bighorn sheep. It was for the preservation and protection of this historic herd that initiated the establishment of San Andres National Wildlife Refuge.) Kennedy conducted ground surveys on the refuge to make sure every desert bighorn lamb was counted. The photo above is of a 28 hour old desert bighorn sheep lamb whose birth was observed by refuge staff.

    A Look Back . . . Cecil Kennedy
  • Tales of Historic Legends

    Historic rock house on refuge / M. Weisenberger, USFWS

    The refuge’s namesake, the San Andres Mountains, was named in honor of Saint Andrew the Apostle by early Spanish settlers at the tiny village of Las Padillas. The history of the San Andres Mountains is rich with legends of lost gold mines and outlaws. The area was occupied as early as 900 A.D. by Native Americans. Remnants of rock houses and mines throughout the range are evidence of heavy mining activity in the area during the late 1800's and early 1900's. The mountains are reported to have been the stomping grounds of Black Jack Ketchem and the Apache Chief Geronimo. Apache Chief Victorio also frequented the San Andres Mountains with his warriors, and fought several skirmishes with the United States Cavalry. One legend tale is that a rock house in the area was at one time used by the outlaw William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid.

Page Photo Credits — All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Refuge desert bighorn sheep in crevice and collared ewe with lamb / Christina Rodden, USDOD, Young bull elk, javelina trio, and mountain lion / Refuge remote cameras, USFWS, Black bear with blonde coat, male painted redstart songbird, and building remains / M. Weisenberger, USFWS, Nashville warbler male / J. Gahr, USFWS, Farming on refuge crop fields / USFWS, Mountain lion / Refuge remote camera, USFWS, Refuge office Wind Generator at sunrise / C. Bartram, USFWS, Organ Mountains with snowcapped peaks / G. Powers, USFWS, 28 hour old desert bighorn sheep lamb whose birth was observed by refuge staff / USFWS, Historic rock house on refuge / M. Weisenberger, USFWS
Last Updated: Dec 16, 2014
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