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BLM Las Cruces District holds public comment period for Gila Lower Box Area


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Las Cruces District announced a 45-day public comment period for the final Recreation Area Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, Finding of No Significant Impact for the Gila Lower Box Area. The public comment period is open from until June 1, 2024.

As explained in a news release, the 11,200-acre Gila Lower Box RAMP planning area is located in Hidalgo and Grant counties, approximately 20 miles northwest of the town of Lordsburg. The planning area includes the Gila Lower Box Wilderness Study Area, the Gila Lower Box Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and the Gila Lower Box Special Recreation Management Area. The plan will guide future development and provide management direction for recreation resources within the Gila Lower Box Area, BLM said.

"The planning area is characterized by cliffs and steep canyon sides rising above a significant riparian area," a news release stated. "The area is home to several threatened, endangered and sensitive wildlife species as well as designated critical habitat for these species. The area also provides important habitat to a variety of native plants and wildlife."

While recreation is an important use of the planning area, unmanaged recreation use has resulted in disturbance and damage to sensitive resources, per the agency, requiring implementation of primitive and sustainable recreation actions to protect the Gila Lower Box Area while being consistent with the management goal of protecting riparian values outlined in the 1993 Mimbres Resource Management Plan.

“This plan proposes to improve and enhance recreational experiences in the Gila Lower Box Area and protect cultural and biological resources,” said Las Cruces District Assistant Manager for Multi-Resources Dave Wallace. “This will be completed by creating and implementing recreation infrastructure that meets the primitive recreational values of the area.” 

BLM encouraged the public to review the final documents and provide substantive comments or concerns prior to 5 p.m. on June 1.  To review documents and provide comments, please visit BLM’s ePlanning website: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2018358/510. To comment via U.S. mail, send to: Bureau of Land Management, Las Cruces District Office, Attn: Allie Bettinger, Gila Lower Box RAMP, 1800 Marquess Street, Las Cruces, NM 88005.

Bureau of Land Management, public comment