Throughout the summer, the members of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project will be featuring a series of blogs. For more information about Trout Unlimited or to become a member, go to tu.org
• About 9.3 million of New Mexico’s 78 million acres (about 11 percent) are public U.S. Forest Service lands.
• Of those 9.3 million acres of U.S. Forest Service lands, about 1.6 million acres, or about 17 percent, are inventoried roadless areas.
• About 66,000, or 0.7 percent of total U.S. Forest Service lands are recommended for wilderness designation.
This area has received international recognition for its outstanding, unique biological diversity and rich cultural history. Encompassing six major biological provinces, it remains one of the wildest, ecologically diverse and most unfragmented landscapes in North America.
The 56,500-acre Peloncillo Roadless Area is part of the larger 87,986-acre Peloncillo Ecosystem Management Area (PEMA) that straddles the Arizona-New Mexico border along the spine of the Peloncillo Mountains.
The diversity of habitat within the PEMA supports a number of threatened or endangered species – including but not limited to – elegant trogan, buff-colored nightjar, southwest flycatcher, aplomado falcon, ridge-nosed rattlesnake, Chiricahua and lowland leopard frog and jaguar (a large male was photographed in 1996 in the southern Peloncillos). There are 75 mammal species (more than America’s most famous mammal haven, Yellowstone park) and 318 species of birds, with 15 species of hummingbirds alone.
The Peloncillo Roadless Area and the corresponding Peloncillo Ecosystem Management Area is underappreciated, understudied and in desperate need of protection and stewardship to maintain both its natural and cultural values…
Hunting opportunities abound here. Abundant game species include Mearns’ quail, Gambel’s quail, scaled quail, Coues deer, javelina, mule deer, desert bighorn, bear and cougar. The range harbors the only fully native population of Gould’s turkey in the United States. The area’s draw and untapped potential from an economic standpoint is tremendous due to its unique biological diversity and outstanding hunting resources.