Location and Unique Inhabitants
Hidalgo County borders Mexico along 86 miles of its boundary. Grant County sits north and east, Arizona runs along the west. The area is known as the "bootheel" because of its location and shape. The county elevation runs from 4000' to Gray Mountain's peak at 6928'. The county includes 20 mountain ranges. Its lowest elevation is 3710' and highest is 8444'.
The Peloncillo Mountains that run through the county house 91 mammal species. The Gray Ranch in southern Hidalgo County has 75 recorded mammal species, more than are found in Yellowstone Park! Of those, almost half are comprised of bats- about 29 species, of which 18 are found in the Animas Mountains alone.
The mountain ranges in southern Hidalgo County and Arizona are referred to as “Sky Islands,” since in their upper, cooler and wetter elevations they produce different plants than in the valleys below. At lower altitudes, desert species such as cacti, mesquites, and creosote bushes thrive, while scrub oaks, junipers, and pines grow at higher elevations. This leads to diversity of not only plants, but also wildlife.
There are common sightings of mountain lions, bobcats, javelina, coyotes, dozens of bird species, and many reptile, insect, and amphibian species. Even jaguars have been reported in areas adjacent to Mexico. The county also claims the only white-sided jackrabbits and thick-billed kingbirds in the U.S..
Endangered species sighted or established in the county include the Mexican Gray Wolf, New Mexico ridge-nose rattlesnake, the lesser long-nosed bat, Mexican long-nosed bat, ocelot, jaguar, coatimundi, and Mexican spotted owl.
Hidalgo County has almost 4900 residents who fit into these categories:
Birth - 19 28%
20 - 59 50%
60 and older 22%
The median (middle) age in the county is 39.
The largest populated town is the county seat, Lordsburg, which is home to about 2880 people. There are widely scattered farms and ranches in the county, which averages residents to less than one per square mile.
There are only two school districts in the county, one centered in Lordsburg and one in Animas. Both pull students from surrounding areas. There are two Post Offices, twenty-four churches, and five cemeteries.