The Gila National Forest is the largest national forest in the US.
It emcompasses more area than does many countries, and houses The Gila Wilderness. As designated by the 1946 Wilderness Act, it was the first WIlderness Area so designated. In these areas humans are visitors, not residents, and machines are not allowed!
Gila Wilderness was designated the world's first wilderness area on June 3, 1924. Along with Aldo Leopold Wilderness and Blue Range Wilderness, the 558,014 acres (2,258.2 km2) wilderness is part of New Mexico's Gila National Forest. The wilderness is approximately 27 miles (43 km) from north to south and 39 miles (63 km) east to west. The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is found within the wilderness.
The Gila Wilderness is located in southwest New Mexico, north of Silver City and wrapping around Reserve. It contains the West Fork, Middle Fork and much of the East Fork of the Gila River; riverside elevations of around 5,000 ft (1,500 m) are the lowest in the wilderness. The Mogollon Mountains traverse an arc across the southwest of the wilderness. The tallest peak within this range, Whitewater Baldy at 10,895 ft (3,321 m), anchors the western point of the wilderness. At the northeast corner is Black Mountain at 9,287 ft (2,831 m).
The Gila Wilderness provides opportunities for fishing, hunting, backpacking, horseback riding and camping. It has miles of trails starting at over fifty easily accessible trailheads. A visitor center near the cliff dwellings site is about two hours north of Silver City, New Mexico on State Route 15.
Hot springs are found within the wilderness. Because it is a wilderness, visitors must minimize their impact on the natural environment by observing the Leave No Trace principles.
In 2007, a hiker was found alive after being lost 40 days in the Gila Wilderness, setting a new state record for the number of days for a lost person to be found alive. It is not uncommon for hikers to become lost in the Gila; some are never found.
Top Picture: Melanie Hot Springs
, Tom Till
Middle Picture: James Orr-For New Mexico Departmet of Tourism
Gila Wilderness The Gila National Forest includes more acres of wilderness than any other National Forest in the Southwest. Three wilderness areas are located within the Gila. The Gila Wilderness, the world's first designated wilderness, was created on June 3, 1924 at the urging of the great conservation pioneer Aldo Leopold. The Aldo Leopold Wilderness lies to the east, while to the west, the smaller Blue Range Wilderness adjoins Arizona's rugged Blue Range Primitive Area. Wilderness areas are set aside for primitive forms of recreation, without the assistance of motorized vehicles or mechanized equipment.
Bottom Picture: James Orr- For New Mexico Department of Tourism
Catwalk Outside Glenwood, in southwestern New Mexico, the Catwalk was originally a gravity-fed pipeline delivering water through rugged Whitewater Canyon to mining operations. In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps added a narrow metal walkway to the pipeline route, clinging to the walls of the canyon.
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Painting By Featured Artist MJAckley "Sunset Behind Fall Tree II"