Unlocking even more of the Sabinoso

PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joins U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to announce a historic donation and new public access to the Sabinoso Wilderness, Credit: New Mexico Wildlife Federation, July 17, 2021.

Dear Friend,

It was only a few years ago that the public couldn’t access the Sabinoso Wilderness — one of the most unique and beautiful places that New Mexico has to offer. Last month, I was proud to welcome U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to New Mexico to announce the largest wilderness land donation in U.S. history that will unlock greater public access and nearly double the size of the wilderness area.

I hope you can take a moment to read and share the column below that I wrote in the Las Vegas Optic about this major addition to the Sabinoso, which was made possible by the Trust for Public Land. I was also honored to be a part of “El Hermoso Sabinoso,” a documentary film directed and produced by Dave Cox, with the help of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the Trust for Public Land, to mark the historic opening and expansion of this incredible land that belongs to us all.

VIDEO: “El Hermoso Sabinoso,” a documentary film by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, made possible by the Trust for Public Land; filmed, directed, and produced by Dave Cox, July 29, 2021.

I am so grateful to all of the dedicated conservationists and community leaders who have helped us unlock Northeastern New Mexico’s Sabinoso for adventure.



United States Senator




Unlocking even more access to the Sabinoso Wilderness


By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

July 27, 2021


Northeastern New Mexico has long been home to world-class scenic landscapes. Over the weekend, I was proud to join U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland at the Sabinoso Wilderness in San Miguel County as she accepted the largest wilderness land donation in U.S. history that will unlock greater access and nearly double the size of the wilderness area. The generous land donation from the Trust for Public Land to the American people is an area known as Cañon Ciruela that is adjacent to the previous boundary of the Sabinoso.

The Sabinoso, which sits east of Las Vegas, includes the dramatic 1,000-foot cliffs of Cañon Largo and supports a serene bosque of cottonwoods and willows. The Sabinoso’s rugged rim rock canyon walls and narrow mesas offer some of the most striking vistas in our entire state. The wilderness is also exceptional wildlife habitat that supports mule deer, elk, mountain lion, black bear, and wild turkey.

Until just a few years ago, the Sabinoso was entirely surrounded by private lands, making it the only legally inaccessible wilderness area in the entire country. That’s why I led the effort back in 2017 to open up the first public access point to the Sabinoso with a generous land donation and road easement. Thanks to that access point, visitors can now reach the southwestern edge of Cañon Largo by driving a little over 30 miles east from Las Vegas and through Trujillo on an access road.

I am grateful to Secretary Haaland for her acceptance of this new land donation and to all of the local sportsmen and community leaders like San Miguel County Commissioner Max O. Trujillo and former San Miguel County Commissioner Rock Ulibarri who have long championed unlocking public access to the Sabinoso.

This new addition will open up a second public access point into the Sabinoso, protect the wilderness, and provide even greater opportunities for outdoor recreation. It will also allow the Bureau of Land Management to build a new parking lot and staging area for visitors.

Unlocking even greater public access will put the Sabinoso on the map as a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts from New Mexico and all around the world. With its wealth of resources and scenery, I’m confident that the Sabinoso can become one of the best places in the entire state for hiking, horseback riding, hunting, and camping.

This is an important economic opportunity for Las Vegas and surrounding communities in San Miguel County—and it couldn’t come at a better time as we try to rebuild our tourism and outdoor recreation industries in New Mexico. New visitors drawn to the Sabinoso will shop in our local stores, fill up at our gas stations, hire local outfitter guides, spend the night in our hotels, and eat at our local restaurants. 

I’m so proud to help unlock a wealth of new outdoor opportunities for visitors from near and far in the stunning scenery of New Mexico’s Sabinoso Wilderness.