U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Welcome to Wilderness Wednesday, our weekly posting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. This week, we are highlighting the 61,600 acre Cebolla Wilderness, designated in 1987. The area is situated in the high ground of the surrounding landscape, and includes bluffs, sandstone mesas, canyons, and grassy valleys. Juniper and piñon dominate, while ponderosa pine is found on north facing slopes. Vertical escarpments provide excellent nesting habitat for birds of prey. A hike on the Narrows Rim Trial will take you along the edge of a sandstone rim 500 feet above the surrounding lava fields, and provides beautiful and vast views.
These high bluffs may lead some to ask if a hang-glider could be launched from the Wilderness. The answer is no. Aircraft use (i.e. landing, taking off, dropping off, or picking up people or materials by airplane, helicopter, hang-glider, parasail, drone or any other aircraft) is prohibited by the Wilderness Act. However, the Wilderness Act does provide exceptions. One exception to the prohibition is where a public use facility, such as an airstrip or helispot, was established prior to designation; in these cases aircraft use may continue. There are no established aircraft uses in any of the BLM Wilderness or Wilderness Study Areas in New Mexico, though examples can be found in other States. The most notable exception to the prohibition of aircraft is in search and rescue. An injured person can most definitely be rescued in a Wilderness Area by helicopter.
The Narrows Rim Trailhead is easily accessed off a paved state highway. From Interstate 40, approximately four miles east of Grants, New Mexico, drive south 21.5 miles on NM 117 to the Narrows Picnic Area. The trailhead is at the south end of the picnic area near the highway. The trail is 3.5 miles long and ends at a viewpoint of the La Ventana Arch. For more information, please visit the Cebolla Wilderness website.
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