gila-national-forest

#Wilderness50!  The Gila Wilderness:

Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway - Riding Beneath Cliffs in the Gila Wilderness

Packing along the Gila River, the traveler pauses to sense the quiet on this riverside campground below jagged tan cliffs.

Location: New Mexico (33.183° N 108.207° W)
Status: Public domain. Photo by Joe Burgess

The Gila Wilderness of New Mexico - the first wilderness area to be protected under the Wilderness Act and just one of the many images of wilderness areas to be found in National Archives holdings

(Submitted by usnatarchives!)

Share your favorite wilderness with the #Wilderness50 tag!

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Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery

El Lobo’s Uncertain Future

Lobo Week, March 23-30, 2015, marks the 17th anniversary of the Mexican gray wolf’s return to the wild. However, this wolf subspecies’ tortuous recovery journey actually began over 40 years ago, when the 1973 Endangered Species Act inspired Americans to build an ark. One of the first creatures we welcomed onto our ark was the gray wolf. But arks and best-laid plans sometimes don’t work as intended.

In 1977, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) contracted Roy McBride to capture wild Mexican wolves in Mexico to begin a breeding program for this nearly extinct subspecies of gray wolf. Ironically, McBride, who for years had lethally trapped wolves, now applied his considerable skills to wolf conservation. In three years he caught five animals. Just in the nick of time, too, because by the early 1980s the Mexican gray wolf had gone completely extinct in the wild.

In 1990, USFWS hired David Parsons to lead the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program. Parsons augmented McBride’s five wolves with two certified pure Mexican gray wolves from captive populations in New Mexico and Mexico. The USFWS then designated the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, which straddled Arizona and New Mexico, where these wolves would be released. It totaled 7,000 square miles of national forest lands and contained a primary recovery area nested within a broader secondary recovery area.

Due to politics and resistance, it would take a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity to spur the 1998 USFWS release of eleven captive-bred Mexican wolves into the Blue Range. Since then, an influx of captive-bred wolves has bolstered this population. Today fifty licensed centers breed wolves for this federal program. Top facilities include the Wolf Conservation Center in New York, the California Wolf Center, and the Turner Endangered Species Fund’s Ladder Ranch in New Mexico.

By 2014, only 83 Mexican gray wolves survived in the wild. This population struggled due to poaching and legal killing by the federal government for livestock depredation. Conservation biologist Paul Paquet and others concluded that it faced a very uncertain future without key management reforms.

Other recovery tools include the 2015 USFWS Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Rule. It increases ten-fold the area where wolves can be released and raises the recovery goal to 300-325 individuals. Yet experts call this insufficient. In the meantime, el lobo continues to face an uncertain future.

Educating the public and bringing awareness to the situation with scientific information will likely be the most important way in supporting the future preservation of the Mexican gray wolf in the wild.

Read: Full Article

Photos: 
1] 2] Mexican Gray Wolf, California Wolf Center
3] Gila National Forest
4] Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area
5] Catron County Billboard

Wildfire shatters record for largest in New Mexico

MSNBC.com:A wildfire burning in the Gila National Forest is now the largest blaze on record in New Mexico, a fire incident spokesman says. Two lightning-sparked fires merged last week to form the giant blaze, which has grown to more than 170,000 acres.

Photo: Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire is seen on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico. (Andrea Martinez / Gila National Forest via msnbc.com)

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Last spring, we decided to take up backpacking and of course, we had to take the corgi! Our first trip was to the Gila National Forest, where we hiked 12 miles in two days and made over 20 river crossings. Hence, the life jacket for the Lucy Bear. (First 2 pics)

The second trip was to the Lincoln National Forest where we hiked around 13 miles and actually saw a bear. Luckily, the Lucybear didn’t see it and it didn’t see us. (Last 4 pictures)

Gila, New Mexico wildfire sets state record for destruction
  • 170,000 acres burned in last week source

» Authorities have confirmed that the fire, which formed after two separate lightning-induced blazes converged last week, has now destroyed more than 265 square miles inside of Gila National Forest. The blaze surpassed a fire from 2011 that destroyed more than 153,000 acres, and threatened the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory before authorities could stop contain it.