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San Andres
National Wildlife Refuge

San Andres NWR lies within the San Andres Mountain range, north of Highway 70.
5686 Santa Gertrudis Drive
Las Cruces, NM   88012 - 6417
E-mail: fw2_rw_san_andres@fws.gov
Phone Number: 575-382-5047
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Agave bloom at the base of San Andres Mountain.
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San Andres National Wildlife Refuge
The San Andres National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southern San Andres Mountains of southcentral New Mexico. The mountain range, which lies within the northernmost extension of the Chihuahuan Desert, rises to an elevation of 8,239 feet at San Andres Peak. Refuge habitats vary from creosote and Chihuahuan desert grasslands in the bajadas to pinyon-juniper woodlands on the mountaintops. Springs, seeps and seasonal streams provide lush riparian habitats throughout the Refuge.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Established in 1941, the Refuge provides important habitat for desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana). More than 150 species of birds have been documented on the Refuge, which is also home to desert mule deer, javelina, and mountain lions. The entire 57,215-acre Refuge lies within the 2.2 million acre White Sands Missile Range, a testing facility of the U.S. Army.

Low rainfall on the Refuge limits the vegetation to such plants as mountain mahogany, Apache plume, ocotillo, desert willow, algerita, creosote bush, yucca, sotol, various cactus, and century plant. Pinyon pine and one seed juniper are the dominant trees at higher elevations. Dominant grasses include the various grama grasses: black, sideoats, hairy, and blue.

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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 San Andres 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 of the rock houses on the Refuge is reported to have been used by the outlaw William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid.

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The Refuge is closed to the public.

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Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
One of the main management activities at San Andres NWR is improving habitat for desert bighorn sheep. One of the management tools used for this is prescribed burning. Prescribed burns rejuvenate native vegetation and improve its value to wildlife.

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