Special Management Areas
In a region with no designated wilderness, the National Monument encompasses several areas that bear interim protections. Eight Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) are located within the boundaries: Aden Lava Flow WSA, Mount Riley WSA, West Potrillo Mountains WSA, Robledo Mountains WSA, Sierra de las Uvas Mountains WSA, Organ Mountains WSA, the Organ Needles WSA, and the Peña Blanca WSA. The West Potrillo Mountains is the largest BLM WSA in New Mexico.
The Aden Lava Flow Research Natural Area (RNA) is also within in the monument. The RNA was designated in 1978 to preserve the unique geological and biological phenomena associated with the Aden Lava Flow and to provide research and educational opportunities. It was used by the Apollo astronauts to train for a moon landing. In addition, the West Potrillos Habitat Management Plan Area is managed to improve habitat for deer and upland game.
The BLM has also declared several Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs). The Robledo Mountains ACEC was designated in recognition of the biological, scenic, and recreational values found there. Historically the Robledo Mountains have been a well kept sportsmen’s secret. A stable herd of desert mule deer lives in the mountains, using the adjacent Rio Grande for water. Hunters pursue large desert mule deer bucks from this herd, in addition to stalking javelina that range throughout the mountains. Gambel’s and Scaled Quail coveys are stable and draw intrepid bird hunters, while dirt tanks and tinajas bring in dove hunters. Overall, there is strong sportsmen use of the Robledo Mountains, making them an important destination just minutes from Las Cruces. The Uvas Valley ACEC, was established as an excellent example of black grama grassland. The Organ Mountains Scenic ACEC and the Organ/Franklin Mountains ACEC were designated to protect the biological, scenic, riparian, special status species, and cultural values of the area.
In addition, the Butterfield Trail Special Management Area protects the route of the historic overland trail through the area.