Aldo Leopold WildernessUseful Information:Aldo Leopold Wilderness at Wilderness.net
The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
New Mexico Highway Map: 6 MB pdf
; 1 MB pdf
Aldo Leopold Wilderness; Wilderness Ranger District
HC 68, Box 50
Mimbres, NM 88049
The Aldo Leopold Wilderness now contains a total of 202,016 acres and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. All of the wilderness is in the state of New Mexico.
This Wilderness, which straddles the crest of the Black Range and contains the most rugged and wild portion of these mountains, pays tribute to one of the greatest pioneers of Wilderness preservation. Only Forest Service Road 150 separates it from the even larger Gila Wilderness, recognized on June 3, 1924, as the world's first designated Wilderness area, a direct result of Leopold's efforts.
The Black Range shoots out in a network of deep canyons and precipitous timbered ridges, rincons, and forested benches-a land of superlative beauty and unbroken serenity. Juniper, piñon pine, and oak dominate up to about 7,000 feet, at which point other pines, fir, spruce, and aspen take over the woodland.
Vista points here sometimes drop off as much as 1,000 feet to rivers and streams verdantly outlined by cottonwoods, willows, and elders. And while some springs flow throughout the year, other springs and streams dry up at times.
One thing that never dwindles is the wealth of critters, from bats to bears, coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, ringtail cats, bobcats, mountain lions, squirrels, rats, mice, and voles, along with a multitude of songbirds, plus frogs, lizards, and snakes.
The Continental Divide cuts across the center ridgeline of the Wilderness, and a 33-mile-plus section (with many miles of trails) of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) forms a portion of the southern boundary. Consider devoting a large chunk of time to exploring this area. When you discover the bounty that awaits you won't regret it.About Public Lands
Public land becomes wilderness through legislation passed by the United States Congress in the form of public laws. For the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, this process began in 1980 when 211,300 acres were designated by Public Law 96-550.
The Aldo Leopold Wilderness is part of the 106 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of wild lands contributes significantly to the ecological, economic, and social health of our country. Wilderness provides clean air and water, a shelter for endangered species, sacred places for indigenous peoples, a living laboratory for research, and a classroom for exploring personal values while experiencing risk, reward, and self-reliance. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. In an age of "...increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization," you play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the regulations listed below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Aldo Leopold Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.Area Management:
Unless otherwise specified, no motorized equipment or mechanical transport is allowed. This is true for all federal lands managed as designated wilderness.
Photos and information courtesy Wilderness.net and US Forest Service