Areas of Critical Environmental Concern

Approximately 91,553 acres of BLM land within the heritage area have been designated as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). An ACEC designation highlights areas where special management attention is needed to protect and prevent irreparable damage to important historic, cultural and scenic values; fish, wildlife resources or other natural systems or processes; or to protect human life and safety from natural hazards. The designation is a record of significant values that must be accommodated when BLM considers future management actions and land use proposals. Congress mandated the designation of ACECs through the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) to manage areas containing truly unique and significant resource values (BLM Guidelines, 1-2). There are seven ACECs within the heritage area.

All were originally designated in 1991 and are currently managed under the San Luis Resource Area Resource Management Plan. These include:
Rio Grande River Corridor (4,644 acres); Recreational and Scenic Value Ra Jadero Canyon (3,633 acres); Ecological Value Blanca Wildlife Habitat Area (8,676 acres); Ecological and Recreational Value Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (3,868 acres); Historic and Scenic Value Los Mogotes (31,309 acres); Ecological Value San Luis Hills/Flattop (39,421 acres); Scenic Value. A portion of this ACEC is designated a Wilderness Study Area.