Protect Our Wilderness Areas and Leave No Trace
Now more than ever, our Wilderness areas are being utilized by hikers, campers, educators and folks who love to explore. By minimizing our impacts as much as possible, we can keep our Wilderness wild. Following the 7 Leave-No-Trace principles while recreating in the backcountry can ensure the preservation of these natural habitats for generations to come.
The 7 Leave-No-Trace Principles
- Plan ahead and prepare: To have a safe and fun hike with minimal damage to nature
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces: To avoid damaging fragile ecosystems and lessening our footprint
- Dispose of waste properly: Animals will stop eating natural food in favor of human food and will seek out humans to continue this behavior
- Leave what you find: Keeps ecosystems intact and allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them
- Minimize campfire impacts: improperly used campfires can lead to forest fires and excessive firewood harvesting harms sensitive areas
- Respect wildlife: the wilderness is *their* home, we are just visitors, they may attack if provoked
- Be considerate of other visitors: follow trail and camp etiquette
Keeping it Wild
New Mexico Wild educates people of all ages about New Mexico’s wild public lands, diverse wildlife, and how these treasures are directly connected to our clean air, drinking water, and quality of life. We work to engage the community in the stewardship and restoration of New Mexico’s wild public lands. Through volunteer service projects, community members build an enduring appreciation and understanding of the importance of protected public lands. Working with youth fosters future stewards to protect wild public lands and wilderness area for future generations.
WHAT THEY DO
This summer, eight Wilderness Rangers will be afoot across Wilderness Areas in the Cibola, Gila, Lincoln, and Santa Fe National Forests through a public-private partnership between the Forest Service and New Mexico Wild. Ranger pairs will be working in the Sandia Mountain, Manzano Mountains, Apache Kid and Withington Wilderness Areas in the Cibola National Forest; the Aldo Leopold and Gila Wilderness Areas in the Gila National Forest; the White Mountain and Capitan Wilderness Areas in the Lincoln National Forest; and the Chama River Canyon, San Pedro Parks, and Pecos Wilderness Areas in the Santa Fe National Forest.
This partnership is designed to increase stewardship in Wilderness Areas across New Mexico. Rangers will be providing a range of important services including wilderness character monitoring, trails assessment, trail clearing, campsite rehabilitation, public outreach and Wilderness education. Their work provides valuable information on current Wilderness conditions while enhancing public safety and contributing to positive Wilderness experiences for wilderness visitors.
Volunteer engagement is an integral aspect of this partnership. Providing the public opportunities to be involved helps leverage scarce public dollars, helps address the backlog of maintenance and improvement needs and instills a sense of pride and stewardship for New Mexico’s wilderness areas. Most volunteer projects will focus on monitoring visitor use (see “solitude monitoring” section below), but could also include campsite and trail rehabilitation, signage, trash clean-up and other types of monitoring efforts.
If you would like to volunteer in one of the wilderness areas listed above, please use the information below to contact the rangers working in that wilderness. And, if you see these rangers on the trail, please take a moment to say HELLO!
Do you like to hike in wilderness and want to give something back? Sign up to help the Cibola and Santa Fe National Forest conduct wilderness solitude monitoring! We are looking for avid hikers and wilderness lovers to count wilderness encounters across several wilderness areas in northern New Mexico. This fun and easy volunteer project can be done without supervision (after a ½ day of training) in pairs or as a group. This summer, monitoring will take place in the Sandia Mountain, Manzano Mountain, Apache Kid, Withington, and Dome Wilderness areas. Contact the individual rangers assigned to each wilderness area for more information or to sign up!
Ever wonder what a day in the life of a wilderness ranger is like? Find out by joining our rangers for a day in the field. You'll learn backcountry travel skills, wilderness data collection basics, how to make effective and positive public contacts and more all while spending a fun day with great people in a beautiful place. Contact a ranger in your area of interest to learn more and schedule a day on the trail.
Santa Fe National Forest
Zack’s love for nature and the outdoors began on family camping trips as a young child and grew through monthly outings with the Boy Scouts. This culminated with attending Appalachian State University in the mountains of western North Carolina, graduating with a degree in Geography. After years in the GIS department of local government, Zack began volunteering with wilderness stewardship groups in North Carolina, building upon his knowledge and skills; something he has continued to do since moving to New Mexico. As a Wilderness Ranger for New Mexico Wild, Zack is now using these skills to help protect Wilderness and public lands here in the Land of Enchantment. In 2018, Zack received the US Forest Service’s Wilderness Partnership Champion Award for his work on the Santa Fe National Forest. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.
Santa Fe National Forest
Jesse is a lifelong lover of wilderness and the outdoors. As a community-minded Northern New Mexican, he has an interest in protecting and stewarding wild landscapes because of the unrivaled value they hold for wildlife, vegetation, soils, watershed health, and human enjoyment. Jesse is an artist and avid wilderness enthusiast who is excited to continue using his skills as a New Mexico Wild ranger to maintain and advocate for wilderness character through education and trails projects.
Cibola National Forest
Cibola National Forest
Walker's adoration of the Southwest is tied directly to the land and all of the astonishing places to explore. At an early age, Walker was able to explore the San Juan mountains, the vast Ponderosa-Piñon forests and stunning canyons that make the Southwest landscapes so special. Being an avid hiker, runner, and rafter fostered his enthusiasm for conservation and stewardship. Walker studied film and music in college and still finds the best creative inspirations come from the being out in the Wild. Walker is excited to work with Wilderness in a professional capacity as an advocate and ranger with NMWild.