"Zinke Backs Plan For Sabinoso Wilderness Gateway"

"U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Wednesday he intends to approve a plan to accept the donation of a 3,600-acre ranch that would open the landlocked Sabinoso Wilderness in northeastern New Mexico to the public.

Zinke toured the area in San Miguel County late last month on horseback alongside Democratic U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico.

“I originally had concerns about adding more wilderness-designated area,” Zinke said in a statement. “However, after hiking and riding the land it was clear that access would only be improved if the [U.S. Department of the Interior] accepted the land and maintained the existing roadways.”

People who have been fighting for access to the Sabinoso Wilderness, which is surrounded by private land, welcomed the announcement with guarded optimism because the transfer isn’t final. In his announcement, Zinke said the Interior Department “intends to finalize the process to consider whether to accept” the property, formerly known as Rimrock Rose Ranch."

Daniel J. Chacón reports for the Santa Fe New Mexican August 9, 2017.

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, 08/10/2017