Friday, November 13, 2009

Festival Of The Cranes Gets Underway On Tuesday

By John Larson

SAN ANTONIO – Socorro County’s biggest event of the year, the Festival of the Cranes begins next week, and organizers report advance registrations are topping last year.
The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge has been home to the festival since 1991, when the newly formed Friends of the Bosque formed a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the City of Socorro. Friends of the Bosque president Paul White said snow geese are arriving from the north daily.
“You can look out over a sea of white and the thrill of watching them all take to the air,” he said. “The count of sandhill cranes is also steadily rising, and there are plenty of viewing areas for the morning lift-offs.”
White said people travel from all over the country to experience the crane fly-outs and fly-ins. “The registrations are ahead of this time last years, and we’re delighted that so many will be participating at a time when people might be tempted to cut back a little,” White said. “That they are staying in New Mexico. Experiencing the wonders we have at home.”
The festival begins next Tuesday and runs for six days, with workshops, hikes, seminars, and other events both at the Refuge and at New Mexico Tech. “We’re delighted that there’s so much interest in a place as magical as the Refuge,” he said.
The Refuge is 57,191 acres located along the Rio Grande at the northern edge of the Chihuahuan desert. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bosque del Apache is an important link in the more than 500 refuges in North America.
The goal of refuge management is to provide habitat and protection for migratory birds and endangered species and provide the public with a high quality wildlife and educational experience.

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