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USA Parks
New Mexico
Southwest Region
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
SEVILLETA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
SEVILLETA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
P.O.Box 1248
Socorro, New Mexico   87801
Located in the Chihuahuan desert 20 miles north of Socorro, New Mexico, the land that is now Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge has a fascinating and long history.

Sevilleta NWR is managed primarily as a research area, and is closed to most recreational uses. However, limited waterfowl and dove hunting is available, and special tours including environmental education programs for students, may be arranged by contacting the refuge at 505/864-4021. Volunteers are needed to assist the refuge with maintenance, scientific, visitor services, and clerical projects. A trailer may be available; please contact the refuge for more information
Nature of the Area
Resident wildlife at Sevilleta NWR includes desert bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer, mountain lion, and bear. Bird species include bald eagle, peregrine falcon, northern shoveler, northern pintail, American coot, wood duck, canvasback, redhead, great blue heron, black-crowned night heron, sandhill crane, killdeer, long-billed dowitcher, red-tailed hawk, kestrel, and burrowing owl. There are also a variety of insects and reptiles, including the endangered horned lizard. For more complete information, please refer to the species lists.
History of the Area
Located in the Chihuahuan desert 20 miles north of Socorro, New Mexico, the land that is now Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge has a fascinating and long history.

In the late 16th century, Spaniards became the first Europeans ever seen by the native people of the area. The Spanish established a military post that they called "New Sevilla," and their rule lasted around 200 years. Toward the end of Spanish control over the area, the Community of Sevilleta was awarded the Sevilleta de la Joya Land Grant by the Governor of the New Mexico Province. Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821 and, in turn, the Sevilleta de la Joya Grant fell under Mexican rule.

After the Mexican-American war, the Sevilleta passed to yet another country's authority. Now under United States rule, a patent on the land was issued to the residents of the community by President Roosevelt. When New Mexico became a state in 1912, however, the community became responsible for taxes on the Land Grant. The taxes were never paid, and Socorro County bought the land in a public sale in 1928.

General Thomas Campbell purchased the land from the County in 1936. The Campbell family worked the land and operated a cattle ranch on it for more than 30 years. Eventually, a long history of human use, coupled with drought, began to take its toll on the land. Recognizing the need for change, Campbell organized the Campbell family Foundation in 1966, shortly before his death. After careful consideration, the Foundation determined that the best way to preserve and enhance the integrity and the natural character of the ecosystems contained within the property would be through the creation of a wildlife refuge. The land contained within the refuge was to be maintained in its natural state and the natural ecological successions and processes typical of the area were to be allowed to prevail. It was also the wish of the Foundation that portions of the property be made available to educational institutions and conservation organizations for scientific research, study and other compatible activities. In 1973 the Campbell Family Foundation donated the property to The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy, in turn, conveyed the land to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. On December 28th, 1973 the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge was established, concluding another chapter in the history of the La Joya Land Grant.

In 1988 the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge became the host to the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program. The Program is conducted by the University of New Mexico's Department of Biology and is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The LTER conducts a variety of research. The dominant theme examines long-term changes in ecosystem attributes. This partnership of institutions and the US Fish & Wildlife Service has created a symbiotic relationship in which the research community is provided a unique outdoor laboratory, and the Refuge benefits from the wealth of knowledge provided by the research. With continued cooperation, this partnership is expected to result in the realization of the common goals and objectives of both the Refuge and the LTER Program.
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The refuge headquarters office is located off of I-25, exit 169, approximately 50 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

USA Parks
New Mexico
Southwest Region
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
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