Las Vegas

National Wildlife Refuge - New Mexico

With the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Great Plains to the east, and the Chihuahuan Desert to the south, Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a diversity of habitats. Located along the Central Flyway, the Refuge provides an important resting, feeding, and wintering area for migrating geese, ducks, and cranes. Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge rests on a plateau in the foothills with the Rocky Mountains just beyond. River canyon walls drop below the refuge on three sides. Las Vegas (Spanish for "the meadows") preserves both wildlife habitats and a slice of New Mexico's rich cultural history.

maps

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of the Eastern area of Santa Fe National Forest (NF) in New Mexico. Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).Santa Fe MVUM - East 2021

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of the Eastern area of Santa Fe National Forest (NF) in New Mexico. Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

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Fact Sheet of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in New Mexico. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Las Vegas - Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in New Mexico. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Las Vegas NWR https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Las_Vegas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas_National_Wildlife_Refuge With the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Great Plains to the east, and the Chihuahuan Desert to the south, Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a diversity of habitats. Located along the Central Flyway, the Refuge provides an important resting, feeding, and wintering area for migrating geese, ducks, and cranes. Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge rests on a plateau in the foothills with the Rocky Mountains just beyond. River canyon walls drop below the refuge on three sides. Las Vegas (Spanish for "the meadows") preserves both wildlife habitats and a slice of New Mexico's rich cultural history.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Welcome: Hawk Country A Swainson’s hawk veers in the winds above Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge. Where the Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet the Great Plains in northern New Mexico, hawks and eagles find easy gliding in the mountain updrafts. Las Vegas NWR rests on a plateau in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. River canyon walls drop below the refuge on three sides. The Gallinas Nature Trail begins near crumbling rock home ruins and squeezes between cliffs ruled by prairie falcons. Las Vegas (Spanish for “the meadows”) preserves both wildlife homes and a slice of New Mexico’s rich cultural history. Above the timbered canyons, the refuge encircles a series of ponds. Migratory birds following the Central Flyway rest and feed here. Long-billed curlews, avocets, Canada geese, mallards, northern pintails, blue-winged and cinnamon teal, gadwall and ruddy ducks nest on the refuge. Sandhill cranes arrive in the fall for a winter stay. A year-round, auto route and a special fall flight drive offer plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. Wildlife: Where Plains Meet Mountains When two ecosystems transition, you are bound to find more types of wildlife than in either ecosystem separately. Las Vegas NWR harbors mammals, birds and plants that thrive in both systems. Central Flyway Stop Northern harriers hover over marshes in search of voles. Gulls plunge into the lakes to snag fish with their bills. Wild turkeys wander the piñon-juniper woodlands. Antelope blend into native prairies home to badgers and burrowing owls. Mule deer find shelter in timbered, sandstone canyons. Coyotes roam across every habitat. Birds winging north and south along the Central Flyway add to the refuge bird wealth. The Las Vegas NWR bird list records 256 species, many that ebb and flow with the seasons. Out of the list, 80 species nest here. Another 134 are neotropical migrant birds that spend summers in North America but migrate through the refuge and winter in Central or South America. The refuge’s 24 species of raptors glide through in the fall and spring. Viewers might see three or four hawk species on a typical fall/spring day visit. Migrating shorebirds, like long-billed dowitchers and sandpipers, probe the mudflats in early fall and spring. Some 20-50 bald eagles spend winters here, attracted by open waters and hundreds of ducks and geese. Mallards, canvasbacks, and wigeon peak in September and October. You will find highest numbers of ruddy ducks, northern shovelers, northern pintails, and gadwalls in March and April. For best sandhill crane and Canada geese watching, visit in fall and winter. Lending a Hand for Wildlife National wildlife refuges like Las Vegas appear as island oases in an ocean of habitat fragmentation, especially for birds that migrate thousands of miles north and south. Where once wildlife could range freely for food and shelter, today their choices are limited. That is why refuges often actively manage lands to make sure food, water, and shelter will be as productive as possible. Las Vegas NWR plants wheat, barley, corn, and peas for wildlife to feed. The refuge lowers and raises water levels in the ponds to provide the best mix of feeding, nesting, and rearing habitats for waterfowl. Finally, do not be surprised if you notice some cattle on the grasslands between May and October. Careful grazing is rejuvenating native grasslands. Things to do at the Refuge Take a Wildlife Drive and Nature Walk Drive the 8-mile auto loop through the heart of the refuge at any time of the year. The drive forms a horseshoe loop along State Highway 281 and County Road 22C. You will pass ponds, lakes, marshes, grasslands, brush thickets, and cottonwood groves. Be alert for wildlife at any point along the way. Enjoy some of the best wildlife viewing from our Crane Lake observation deck or capture that perfect photograph. Interpretive panels provide information about some of the species you might see from this vantage point. Excellent viewing opportunities exist here year-round. McAllister Lake Waterfowl Management Area, owned and managed by New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, lies within the refuge and forms the southern end of the auto loop. Gallinas Nature Trail Walk The sweet song of a canyon wren trails off somewhere above you. Cliff swallows dart out from sandstone bluffs towering 200 feet overhead. If you can, bring binoculars and a camera on this halfmile round-trip. You will descend into a strikingly beautiful canyon, past several features profiled here. The trail is open on weekdays. Please stay on the trail and use caution. Snakes and old ruins can be a hazard. Children should never put their hands or feet in places they cannot see. 1. Even Rock Houses Don’t Last Forever At the trail parking area, notice the remains of rock homes built around 1920. Settlers labored to build these houses, quarrying nearby rock and cutting trees. The pine roof

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