Fishing activities

Bosque del Apache offers visitors year-round activities

A canyon trail in Bosque del Apache. (Courtesy of Jessica Jia)

As a famous species spreads its wings and heads for another seasonal mainstay, a plethora of different birds return to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge for the spring and summer seasons.

The great crane migration during the winter months is a main attraction for visitors to the refuge, but the area is so much more than that. Renewal and beauty await you all year round.

Jessica Jia, park ranger manager at Bosque del Apache, said: “Each season in nature has its own charm.

With the weather turning now and the pandemic, a stale worry that has taken hold in the past, spring and summer have a lot to offer. Jia explained that “nature performs movement and rebirth” during the warmer months.

She said: “Visitors can expect the arrival of species of migratory hummingbirds, baby birds and beautiful sunsets over unbroken desert landscapes.”

Calliope hummingbirds are among the visitors to the Bosque del Apache. (Courtesy of Jessica Jia)

Established in 1939, the San Antonio, New Mexico Refuge spans 57,331 acres along the Rio Grande between the Chupadera and San Pascual Mountains. More than 30,000 acres are dedicated to untouched wilderness, and the entire space remains a vital stopover for migrating birds.

Officially designated in 1975, it is one of more than 560 units in the National Wildlife Refuge land and water system. The mission of the preservation system is to revive and nurture these areas for the strength of the atmosphere and wildlife, and for the benefit of future generations.

Page Steed, who resides in Canyon, Texas, but owns a photography studio in Angel Fire, recently visited Bosque del Apache. She considers the refuge “a Shangri-la oasis for nature lovers all year round.”

“I love spending time all over this area,” she said. “Most of the time, I enjoy the quiet and the sounds of nature wherever I am.”

Visitors benefit from the true purpose of the refuge. Bosque del Apache is in place to protect wildlife and preserve the ecological integrity of a vital stretch of the Rio Grande. The staff’s goal is to maintain a healthy, quality environment, under their control, and to mimic the natural processes the river once did to better serve the species that use it for their basic survival.

Jia said, “Visitors can come and enjoy areas that were once widespread…now only exist in small patches.”

Thousands of years ago, the Rio Grande was healthy and bulky, despite how it looks today. Over the centuries, human interruption began to alter the dynamics of the water as well as the subsidiary ponds and marshes that would form from the overflow of the river. It’s a stressful time of conversation because of the Rio Grande’s water level, Jia said.

Every year, however, rebirth and restoration can be enjoyed in this small piece of land. Nature is a strong mother. In the spring, attractions include hummingbirds, butterflies, and the arrival of swallows and shorebirds. Wildflowers and cactus flowers are also important.

Summer brings another expansion of wildlife as staff prepare the ground for migrating birds and endangered species, Jia said. Baby quails, roadrunners and turtles can be seen gracing the land. Other attractions include fishing and frog fishing, as well as beautiful sunsets.

Steed shared that “the sunrises and sunsets are absolutely breathtaking! »

“If you’re looking for a lot of bang for your time, this field can’t be beat,” she said.

The sunsets at Bosque del Apache are stunning all year round. (Courtesy of Page Steed)

Artists, like Steed, can take advantage of the refuge. Spots for undisturbed photography, painting, and drawing are scattered throughout, and the space offers plenty of picturesque patterns to capture. Activities for people, regardless of their experience in nature, are plentiful.

Due to the size of the refuge, Jia said many might not realize that there are more than 10 hiking trails, a picnic pavilion, a garden, bike paths and ways to enjoy the area in solitude or with family and friends.

To get the best view of summer species, Jia recommends checking out the Wetland Roost parking lot, Point of Lands lookout, and Elmendorf trailhead when visiting. Baby quail roaming the dirt, cactus flowers and hummingbirds at feeders provide visitors with some of the best photo opportunities.

The beauty of nature creates a variety of activities, but above all, it reminds us to absorb the natural order of the environment. Bosque del Apache is home to some of the country’s most incredible wildlife.

“The shelter has been pleased to see an increase in local visitors over the past year,” Jia said. “We invite everyone…to come and enjoy their national public lands.”

It’s time to kickstart your exploration, and there’s always so much chance to bask in the natural beauty of the surroundings at Bosque del Apache.