QUESTA, N.M. (AP) – The acquisition of nearly 1,200 acres (nearly 5 square kilometers) of private land near the New Mexico-Colorado border will go a long way to protect a migration corridor for elk and other animals, officials with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation said. The transfer was completed in recent weeks following three years of negotiations with land owners, the foundation, and the Bureau of Land Management.

 “It will permanently conserve the 1,200 acres of land for future generations,” said Ryan Chapin, the Lands Operation Manager with RMFE. “So, any New Mexican will be able to go and visit this property, recreate, hunt and just be on this landscape.”

The federal agency paid about $900,000 for four private in-holdings located within the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument near Taos. Money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund financed the effort.

“This is a crucial swath of land and a key migration corridor for approximately 10,000 elk that move back and forth between New Mexico and Colorado,” Kyle Weaver, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Steve Wells, acting director for the Bureau of Land Management in New Mexico, said that through the partnership with the elk foundation, the federal agency is able to increase access to public lands for traditional and recreational activities such as fuelwood gathering, hunting, grazing and camping.

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