Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check alerts and local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission.. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.


  • Young bull elk / Refuge remote wildlife camera, USFWS

    About the Refuge

    Wild places have value to us whether we can visit them or not. San Andres Refuge is one of those places, as it is Not Open to the Public.

    Learn More

  • Rainbow over Refuge / M. Weisenberger, USFWS

    Temporarily Closing Office Reception

    . . . to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and you--our friends and neighbors.

    Agency's COVID-19 Announcement

  • Desert Bighorn Sheep close-up / USFWS

    Hunting Opportunity

    Occasional Big Game hunting opportunities within DOD White Sands Missile Range may allow escorted access onto San Andres Wildlife Refuge.

    Hunt Information

  • Black bear cooling off in wildlife water drinker, Refuge remote camera / USFWS

    Chihuahuan Desert Biome

    Our Refuge lies within the northern most extension of the Chihuahuan Desert. This habitat precludes any water recreation, such as fishing.

Appreciate Your Support!

Our Protected Future!

Prescribed burn / C. Bartram, USFWS

Because there is restricted access and no public access onto the Refuge, the lands remain relatively undisturbed which allows the future to continue to provide the Refuge with opportunities to serve as a natural laboratory in support of research on the southwestern plants and animals, Chihuahuan Desert ecosystems, ground water movement and distribution status, fire effects (from managed fuels reduction prescribed fires and natural lightning strike fires), and historical/cultural sites. The Refuge periodically conducts prescribed fires to mimic the natural historic fire regime and improve habitat for desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and quail. Since the Refuge's first prescribed fire in 1999, more than 57,000 acres have been treated. Another Refuge priority is to monitor and control non-native invasive species which compete with native species and impact the Refuge's ability to conserve the natural wildlife resources. One such invader, salt cedar (Tamarix chinensis), is a tree species introduced to the southwest in the early 1900's. It has since spread throughout the region and spans across boundaries of federal ownership in the San Andres Mountains. Salt cedar forms dense thickets that crowd out other desirable native species, proliferates rapidly, consuming the natural water supply available to native plants. It also creates large deposits of salt in the soil, which prevents other plants from growing in these tainted areas. Interagency control of this damaging plant protects sensitive riparian habitat and other remote areas in this desert mountain range, contributing to the benefit of the greater landscape. The Refuge has been and will continue to be an important area in the landscape wide effort to protect those unique plant and animal resources within the San Andres Mountain range.

They Need You

Bat species / Refuge remote camera, USFWS

Help Pollinators - our bats, hummingbirds, bees, beetles, butterflies, moths, and flies. They need support from all of us! A few projects you can do at home to benefit a variety of pollinators, include: Planting a Pollinator Garden with a diversity of colorful, nectar and pollen producing flowers. Place the Garden away from roadways to prevent butterflies and moths from coming in contact with vehicles. Build a bee nesting block and a bat house. Do not harm bats out of fear and false myths. Avoid and/or limit pesticide use. Pesticides can kill more than the intended, nuisance pest. Some pesticide residues harm pollinators for several days after the pesticide is applied. Pollinators, play a crucial role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables. Without the assistance of pollinators, most plants cannot produce fruits and seeds. The fruits and seeds of flowering plants are an important food source for people and wildlife. Some of the seeds that are not eaten will eventually produce new plants, helping to maintain the plant population. Pollinating animals are vital to our delicate ecosystem and positively affect all of our lives.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pollinators page
Introduction to San Andres National Wildlife Refuge

Bringing San Andres National Wildlife Refuge to You Through Our Website

Desert bighorn sheep ewe with lamb / © Christina Rodden, DOD-WSMR

Our public website strives to bring the scenic beauty of San Andres National Wildlife Refuge to you, with no public access allowed on the refuge lands. The refuge restricts and prevents public access due to its location within a military installation. See the link below for details.

Refuge's location, restricts access.

Caution for Your Well-being

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announcement Letter

In keeping with guidance from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and acting out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily suspending (closing) operations of the visitor contact site at the administrative headquarters of San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. We are committed to doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and you--our friends and neighbors. Therefore, planned Refuge events and programs may not take place as scheduled. Refuge lands remain restricted by White Sands Missile Range and are not open for recreation. Please visit refuge information kiosks at the San Augustin Pass pullout on Highway 70 for refuge information. We apologize for any inconvenience and will provide updates as they become available. More information is available by calling 575-202-8138.

See Our Agency Letter
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