Major Land Donation

Socorro – A volunteer group has donated 140 acres, including a 6,272-foot peak, to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro.

The Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge bought the land from the Highland Springs Ranch development in 2007. The group raised more than $72,000 for the purchase.

Congress incorporated the land into the adjacent Chupadera Wilderness in September.

That action marks the first time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has accepted a land donation for inclusion into a designated wilderness.

The 57,191-acre refuge where thousands of cranes and geese migrate each fall is located along the Rio Grande. It celebrated its 70th birthday this month.

Visitors will now have access to Chupadera Peak, which can be seen from anywhere on the refuge.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.