Racing to fulfill President Donald Trump’s campaign promises, the Department of Homeland Security is dynamiting cliff sides and carving switchback roads up incredibly steep mountains to build a 30-foot-tall border wall through Guadalupe Canyon. Not only is the construction expensive, it will have little impact on undocumented immigration into the U.S. It will, however, destroy an important North American wildlife corridor.
Diana Hadley, a retired environmental historian, knows firsthand the remoteness of Guadalupe Canyon, a lush riparian corridor spanning northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. In the early ’70s, she and her then-husband raised three children there while working on a cattle ranch and living off-grid. The canyon walls themselves were “absolutely beautiful,” Hadley said. “They’re really steep, and they’re rosy-colored rock.” Now, some of those rock walls are crumbling.
The canyon is part of the isolated and rugged Peloncillo Mountains, a habitat corridor between northern Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. that is traversed by ocelots, black bears, mountain lions, white-nosed coati and even jaguars — the region is federally designated critical habitat for the endangered cats.
Canyon sections have been designated a wilderness study area by the Bureau of Land Management, and an important bird area by the National Audubon Society. Nearby ranches have conservation easements.
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