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

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Face masks are required in all federal buildings and on all federal lands.
  • Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other groups.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


  • Doe pair at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge

    Seeking Public Comment Through May 25th

    We are proposing to allow picnicking on the refuge and are seeking public comment on the compatibility determination (CD). View Page Link

    Refuge's Visitor Activities Page

  • Rio Mora scenic view / USFWS

    View Rio Mora's Facebook Page

    The Refuge has created their Facebook page! View in the link below.

    Refuge's New Facebook Page

  • Bobcat / Leann Wilkins, USFWS

    Refuge Improvements to Spring 2021

    The refuge's federal roads project is scheduled for November 2020 to March, 2021 to rehabilitate numerous areas within the refuge.

    Visitor Activities page

  • Swainson's Hawk / Leann Wilkins, USFWS

    Swainson's Hawk

    Swainson's have an unusual diet among raptors - they feed mostly on insects! Tragically, it is in decline because of pesticide use.

  • North American porcupine-Erethizon dorsatum/Bennette Jenkins

    North American porcupine

    The porcupine is a rodent. The North American porcupine is the largest of all porcupines. A single animal may have 30,000 or more quills.

Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge

Draft Documents (CD) for Picnicking at Rio Mora Wildlife Refuge

Bison behind Refuge sign / © R. Larranaga, USFWS

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are seeking public review and comments regarding a draft compatibility determination (CD) for picnicking at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge. Picnicking is a secondary supportive use that allows the public to enjoy their National Wildlife Refuge for longer periods. Picnicking enhances many of these visitor’s experiences by enabling them to spend more time on the refuge engaging in wildlife-dependent recreational activities. This use is not one of the priority public uses; however, picnicking supports wildlife-dependent recreational uses such as wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and interpretation; which can increase the public’s awareness, understanding, and appreciation of fish and wildlife resources. You are invited to review and comment on the draft compatibility determination. The documents and attachments in the link below and are available beginning May 10, 2021, for 15 days. You can contact the Visitor Services Manager by mail at Northern New Mexico National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Rte. 1, Box 399, Las Vegas, NM 87701: or by email *Please put “Public Input – CD” in the subject line of the email. Comments will be accepted until May 25, 2021. Comments received will be consolidated, and agency responses will be included in the final version of this Compatibility Determination.

Refuge' Picnicking Proposal for Public Review and Input

Neighboring Refuge

Rio Mora Ranch view / USFWS

The Mora River flows through the center of this beautiful, scenic 4,224-acre refuge established in 2012. The Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, formerly the Wind River Ranch, is a continuation of the vision of philanthropist Eugene V. Thaw and his wife Clare E. Thaw who bought the Ranch in 1980 with the intent of protecting and restoring the land as a representative piece of southwestern ecological heritage. Inclusion of this important ranch and conservation area into the refuge system, coupled with the newly established Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area in Colorado, creates a wildlife corridor that will ensure protection and restoration of the Mora River watershed and one of the great prairie grassland landscapes of North America. The headquarters for Rio Mora are collocated with Las Vegas and Maxwell National Wildlife Refuges.


Refuge Improvements in Preparation of Public Opening

Mule deer bucks / © Bennette Jenkins, USFWS

The refuge's federal roads project is scheduled for November 2020 to March, 2021 to rehabilitate numerous areas within the refuge. Projects for rehabilitation include: the entrance road and the gravel, chat, boulders, information kiosk, and picnic table for the trail. Once these projects are completed, Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge will be open to the public. A 2-mile round trip hiking trail (overlooking the Mora River) will be coming soon, this spring 2021. Currently, wildlife observation and photography are conducted along the Loma Parda County Road and State Highway 161. Public access is limited to the county road, state highway, and special events on refuge that include five organized guided hikes offered throughout the year. Wildlife observation and photography are permitted during organized events.

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