The West Mesa Open Space is a 4,200-acre tract of land located north and east of Albuquerque's Volcano Park and the Petroglyph National Monument. It is a scenic wilderness area marked by expansive mesa-top lava flows, a variety of small volcanic features, several archaeological sites, rugged arroyo courses, and wide-open vistas. The entire area falls under the management of the city.
The portion of West Mesa known as Mesa Grasslands Preserve is unoccupied and closed to the public. It occupies the bulk of the Open Area west of the volcanoes, covering some 3,800 acres in the Rio Puerco Valley. This area serves as a protected habitat for certain local plant and wildlife species. For example, its open range is the natural home for herds of pronghorn antelope.
A portion of the West Mesa Open Space contains developed areas, such as the Boca Negra Horseman's Complex and the George J. Maloof Memorial Air Park. It also incorporates a region known as Shooting Range State Park, which is dedicated to target shooting and where fees apply.
Hikers are allowed in several canyons here, where trails lead to ancient petrogylphs. There are three such trails within Boca Negra Canyon, and one each in Piedras Marcadas Canyon and Rinconada Canyon.
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