TAOS, N.M. — For the first time, the Sabinoso Wilderness in northeastern New Mexico is accessible to the general public for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.

The 16,000-acre area contains some of the most pristine habitat in the country for elk, mule deer and other wildlife.

It was previously wholly surrounded by non-federal land, making it inaccessible to the public.

However, a donation of about 3,600 acres formerly known as the Rimrock Rose Ranch that are adjacent to Sabinoso Wilderness was accepted by Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management.

The Sabinoso now connects with neighboring BLM-managed land, making it publicly accessible for the first time since its congressional designation as a wilderness area in 2009.