How Private Land Reserves are Saving Endangered Species
Story by Adam Hurly
May 24 2019
Mission: When you stay at Ted Turner Reserves, you witness the efforts of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, which helps repopulate and protect precious wildlife in tandem with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Endangered species such as the American bison, Chiricahua leopard frog, Bolson turtle, Mexican wolf, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. With each expansive property acting as the home to a number of recovery programs, Ted Turner Reserves and the Turner Endangered Species Fund have helped conserve and restore many species.
For example, the population of Rio Grande cutthroat trout had been reduced by 92 percent from historical distributions, competition with introduced salmon, as well as habitat degradation and exploitation. But there’s been “a 20 percent increase in the number of stream miles currently occupied by Rio Grande cutthroat trout”, according to Carter Kruse, TTR’s director of conservation research, education and management, which means the trout is no longer on the endangered species list.
Where they are: Spread across 1.1 million acres in New Mexico, Ted Turner Reserves host visitors at three different properties, and offer tours at one more: Half of that land is at VermejoOpens a New Window., in the north, with private cottages, an eight-room lodge, and a 25,000-square-foot mansion. Between El Paso and Albuquerque in the south and west are Sierra GrandeOpens a New Window., built on a geothermal mineral hot spring; LadderOpens a New Window. has exceptional biodiversity and a ghost-towny appeal; and the exploration-only ArmendarisOpens a New Window. is accessible from Ladder and Sierra Grande, featuring hikes, hot air balloon rides, and a chance to see over a million free-tail bats flying in tandem.
Guest experience: Ted Turner Reserves give visitors a luxurious retreat-like experience, with outdoor activities that celebrate and incorporate both land and wildlife. Activities include safari-like expeditions, nature hikes, nature-photography classes, horse riding, mountain biking, clay shooting, fishing, ice fishing, kayaking, cooking, geocaching, geothermal spa treatments, and more. The best part of it all is to see the wildlife the Turner Endangered Species Fund has helped protect and revive, in addition to the creatures enjoying life on private, sanctioned grounds: American Bison, elk, bear, bighorn sheep, deer, antelope, bolson tortoise, and more. “Guests not only see these animals in their natural habitat, but also have a chance to learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes to help some of these previously endangered species,” says Jade McBride, director of hospitality at Ted Turner Reserves.