Updated: Nov 17, 2019
By Peter Lipscomb
The Galisteo Basin Watershed is an important wildlife corridor for migrating and wandering cougar, black bear, and mule deer between the Southern Rockies and New Mexico Highlands. The Basin is home to 130 species of birds, deer, antelope, cougars, skunk, fox, raccoon, porcupines, badgers, bobcats, scorpions and tarantulas. We’ve got black bears and mountain lions in the Ortiz, and Pronghorns in the grassy plains.
Loss of habitat from climate change and human development has contributed to range expansion. Species spread beyond their historic environment in search of food or nesting territory. So, animals from Chihuahuan desert are beginning to show up at our doorstep. The white-winged dove, formerly found in southern New Mexico and Arizona desert habitat, now sings in Cerrillos village.
The creeks are the highways of these corridors, so their conservation is critical. We’ve had lots of requests to expand the trail system into the western canyons at Cerrillos Hills State Park. But as stewards of the land, natural resource managers have to balance public access with habitat preservation.
These animals have lived here for thousands of years. We need to take responsibility
for their habitat. If we don’t, they’ll have nowhere to call home.
Peter Lipscomb is Park Manager at Cerrillos Hill State Park.
This excerpt is from The Galisteo Basin, a coffee table book edited by Galistean John Miller, available as a gift with a $75 donation to La Sala.