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About the Refuge


The San Andres National Wildlife Refuge includes ideal habitat for New Mexico’s desert bighorn sheep. Its name sake mountain range, the San Andres Mountains, remains one of the least disturbed Chihuahuan desert land masses in the United States.


With the exception of occasionally scheduled tours for education or research groups, the refuge is closed to the public for safety and security concerns. It is completely surrounded by the 2.2 million-acre White Sands Missile Range, the largest military installation in the United States.

Though closed to the public, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge serves as a natural laboratory that supports important research on southwestern flora and fauna, Chihuahuan desert ecosystems, hydrological status, effects of prescribed burning and wild fires, and historical and cultural sites. There is much to be learned concerning the San Andres mountain range and the plant and wildlife resources within it.

It was established in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘for the conservation and development of natural wildlife resources.’ The 57,215-acre refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters managed for the benefit of wildlife, habitat and you.

Page Photo Credits — Greater Earless Lizard / Mara Weisenberger
Last Updated: Sep 24, 2013
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