Grulla National Wildlfie Refuge is located in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, near the small town of Arch, approximately 25 miles northwest of Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge. This 3,236-acre refuge is managed by the staff at Muleshoe NWR. The refuge is comprised of 2,330 acres of a saline lake bed (Salt Lake) and 906 acres of grassland. Cattle from adjacent lands have grazed on the refuge grasslands since 1969 when the land was acquired from the Bureau of Land Management and fencing the area was determined to be unfeasible.

Grulla is Spanish for "crane". Since the 1700s or earlier, the area was within the bison hunting territory of the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache tribes. Evidence of prehistoric bison hunting has been found on the Refuge.

Directions: From Muleshoe, Texas: Drive south on Highway 214 for 13 miles to Needmore, then follow FM 298 northwest approximately 15 miles to the New Mexico state line. Turn left onto the 1/2 mile long entrance road, which ends at a small parking area. From Portales, New Mexico: Drive approximately 25 miles southeast on Highway 88 to the Texas state line, then turn right onto the refuge entrance road.

Ornithological Summary

When the lake holds sufficient water, Grulla NWR is a beneficial wintering area for lesser Sandhill Crane. Ring-necked Pheasant, Scaled Quail, and Lesser Prairie-chicken are often seen on or near the refuge. Shorebirds like the American Avocet and Baird's Sandpiper can sometimes be seen on Salt Lake in the fall.

Conservation Issues

Overgrazing is a serious problem at this site especially during drought years.
A portion of the salt playa is owned privately. The USFWS is trying to find the means to buy the rest of the playa.

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.