Gila National Forest

The Gila National Forest is a protected national forest in New Mexico in the southwestern United States established in 1905. It covers about 2,710,659 acres of public land, making it the 6th largest National Forest in the continental U.S. The forest also manages the part of Apache National Forest that lies in New Mexico which totals an additional 614,202 acres for a total of 3.3 million acres managed by the Gila National Forest. A portion of the area, the Gila Wilderness and the Blue Range Wilderness are also found within the borders. The forest lies in southern Catron, northern Grant, western Sierra, and extreme northeastern Hidalgo counties in southwestern New Mexico. The forest headquarters can be found in Silver City, New Mexico. There are local ranger district offices in Mimbres, Quemado, Reserve, Glenwood, Silver City, and Truth or Consequences.

The terrain fluctuates from rugged mountains and deep canyons to semi-desert. Because of the extremely rugged terrain, the area is largely unspoiled. There are several hot springs in Gila National Forest, including Jordan Hot Springs, Middle Fork Hot Springs, and Turkey Creek Hot Springs.

The Gila River Forest Reserve was established on March 2nd of 1899 by the General Land Office and was renamed the Gila Forest Reserve on July 21st of 1905. The following year the forest was transferred to the United States Forest Service and on March 4th of 1907 became a National Forest. Additions include Big Burros National Forest on June 18th of 1908, Datil National Forest on December 24th of 1931, and a portion of Crook National Forest on July 1st of 1953.

Image Caption: Gila Nat’l Forest, NM along routh 180. Credit: Zereshk/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)