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San Luis Hills

Rio Grande National Conservation Area
Agency Status: Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area
Counties: Conejos
Nearest City of Town: Antonito
Location: Along the Rio Grande at the New Mexico border
This area near the Colorado/New Mexico border is adjacent to approximately eight miles of the Rio Grande River in the San Luis Valley. The steep walled canyon is a haven for raptors, including hawks, falcons, and eagles. The Colorado Natural Areas Program considers this likely habitat for Astragalus ripleyi, or Ripley milkvetch, a rare and endangered plant species.
The rolling San Luis Hills above the river form an outpost of roadless lands in the midst of the valley’s agricultural development. The hills offer fine views of the surrounding Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountains.
The presence of large raptor populations, rare plants, and wild river values led the BLM to designate this segment of the Rio Grande as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and to include it in the.longer Rio Grande Corridor Special Recreation Management Area. The agency has also studied this part of the river for protection under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
CPP proposes legislative protections in the forms of NCA and NPA for this area.