Library image #1884
: A view of The Inkpot, one of the sinkhole lakes found in the Salt Creek Wilderness.
The United States Congress designated the Salt Creek Wilderness (map
) in 1970 and it now has a total of 9,621 acres
All of this wilderness is located in New Mexico
and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Migratory waterfowl may consider this a sufficient winter home, but birders will see it as paradise. From October through February, the seasonal wetlands of 24,609-acre Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge play host to 5,000 to 20,000 ducks, 10,000 to 30,000 geese, as many as 30,000 cranes, and countless white pelicans and snowy egrets. The uplands, by contrast, are chock-full of quail, roadrunners, pheasant, desert cottontail rabbits, and black-tailed jackrabbits. More secretive but still to be found are mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, and badgers.
Three tracts make up the refuge: the South Tract is primarily farmland; the Middle Tract holds refuge headquarters and Bitter Lake (named for its water, which tastes sour to many people and often dries up in summer, leaving nothing but a white alkaline bed); and most of the North Tract is designated Wilderness. Salt Creek itself runs through the center of the Wilderness, an area of native grassland, sand dunes, brushy bottomlands, and a northern boundary distinguished by its red-rimmed plateau, all just west of the Pecos River.