Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Chupadera Peak Granted Wilderness Status
Southwest Region, October 7, 2009
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View From Chupadera Peak.  Photo by, John Bertand.
View From Chupadera Peak. Photo by, John Bertand. - Photo Credit: n/a

This week Congress formally approved the designation of 140 acres of newly-donated land at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, including the peak of Chupadera Mountain, to wilderness status.  The designation marks the first time that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been able to use a provision of the Wilderness Act, which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to accept a donation of land immediately adjacent  to a designated wilderness area for preservation as wilderness.


The 140 acres was donated to the Federal government by the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR, a non-profit organization established to support the Refuge, in December 2007. Following the donation the Service immediately began work to add the land to the Chupadera Wilderness Area.


Chupadera peak is highly visible from anywhere on the refuge, and forms the dramatic backdrop for the thousands of cranes and geese that photographers from all over the world come to the refuge to capture through their lenses.  It has long been sought by refuge managers for inclusion into the refuge.  The 5,000-acre Chupadera Wilderness, established in 1975, adjoins the peak on the east side of the mountain, but for many years visitors were not able to access the peak.  The 2007 land donation made visitor access to the top of the mountain possible and, with the recent designation of Wilderness status, will preserve the natural setting of this highly visible mountain ecosystem. 


Visitors can hike from a parking lot located off Hwy. 1 inside the refuge boundary all the way to the top of Chupadera Peak and remain entirely within the refuge.  Chupadera peak is the highest point on the Bosque del Apache NWR and offers stunning panoramic views of the refuge, the Rio Grande’ flood plain and the bordering Chihuahuan Desert uplands.  Wilderness designation means the peak will be managed to protect its natural resources, provide opportunities for environmental education and primitive public recreation.  Construction of permanent structures, roads, and the use of motor vehicles are excluded in designated wilderness.  The Chupadera Wilderness Area, like all national wilderness areas, is an undeveloped place where visitors can experience untrammeled natural habitat, while experiencing the solitude of peace and quiet that only nature can provide.



Contact Info: Nicole Haskett, 505-248-6457gov, nicole_haskett@fws.gov
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