Grulla National Wildlife Refuge
Salt Lake playa at Grulla National Wildlife Refuge
Grulla National Wildlife Refuge is a 3,236-acre property near Arch (a ghost town in eastern Roosevelt County). About 2,330 acres of the property is the usually-dry saline lake bed of Salt Lake, the remaining 906 acres is native grassland. Seasonally, the lake bed fills with water and provides some excellent habitat for wintering lesser sandhill cranes. The lakebed also often fills with water during summer's seasonally heavy thundershowers. You'll usually find lesser prairie chicken, scaled quail and ring-necked pheasant in the area year-round.
The property was transferred from the Bureau of Land Management to the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 1969. Historically, cattle have been allowed to graze freely on the land and that hasn't changed.
To get there: NM Highway 88 goes southeast from Portales to the Texas State line. The refuge entrance road is at the state line. Go south about 1/2 mile to the small parking area. The property is open to the public every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. There are no entry fees involved.
Grulla National Wildlife Refuge is managed by staff stationed at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, about 25 miles away near Muleshoe, Texas.
Grulla National Wildlife Refuge area map
Map courtesy of USGS