Bosque gets new manager

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Kevin Cobble may be an unfamiliar name to many Socorroans, but he is definitely on familiar terms with the Bosque del Apache refuge and its staff.

Cobble, who currently manages the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge southeast of Las Cruces, began his relationship with Bosque del Apache as a child. Trips north for the winter waterfowl fly-ins were — and are still — special for the Las Cruces-based Cobble family.

“I’ve been going to the Bosque since I was 10 years old,” Cobble said. “I stopped in on a Saturday at the pond with my brother on our way to Albuquerque. The geese took off. It’s such an amazing experience. I never get tired of it. I am excited for the opportunity to continue the tradition.”

Cobble’s love for the outdoors prompted him to earn a bachelor’s degree in wildlife science from New Mexico State University in 1978. After several stints in Arizona and Texas as a United States Fish and Wildlife Services fisheries biologist, Cobble returned to his home town in 1999 to lead the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge.

At the San Andres refuge, Cobble’s priority has been protecting the endangered desert bighorn sheep endemic to mountain ranges along the western edges of the White Sands Missile Range.

Due to its location on a restricted military reservation, the San Andres refuge is not open to the public, but Cobble welcomes the challenges of managing the highly visited Bosque del Apache, having worked several years at the Festival of the Cranes to help out with law enforcement.

“It’s going to be a lot higher profile than San Andres, but I’m really excited,” he said. “So many people love to visit.”

Friends of the Bosque executive director Leigh Ann Vradenburg welcomes Cobble’s experience working with the public.

“I’m excited to have him on board. I’ve met Kevin in years past,” she said. “This last festival, he came up to talk to me about the Friends. That’s very positive.”

Cobble’s wife of 31 years, Crystal, is a sixth grade science teacher at Mesa Middle School in Las Cruces. He has two grown daughters, Kacy and Sara. In his spare time, Cobble prefers to do “anything outdoors,” like hiking, camping, and rugby.

 

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