The ATSF and wilderness near Roswell

Salt CreekThe Salt Creek Wilderness is a little north of Roswell.  The ATSF mainline (now BNSF but leased to Southwestern Railway) runs just east of the wilderness area and may barely touch it for a brief distance.  The wilderness unit contains a total of 9,621 acres and is managed by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.  It was established in 1970 and is a part of the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.   It has many beautiful areas and is a treat to visit.  Visitor accommodations are very minimal.  For a smoother more rewarding visit, check in at the Refuge headquarters just out of Roswell.  Though the main refuge area to the south draws a lot of birders seasonally. you won’t find a crowd at the wilderness unit.  You will likely be the only visitor.  That is what wilderness is about!


The Salt Creek Wilderness area is the first place I saw estivation in action. Toads such as this New Mexico spadefoot toad endure the log dry spells by employing estivation which is an inactive state resembling deep sleep, in which some animals living in hot climates, pass the summer. Estivation underground protects these animals against heat and dryness.

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