Cerros del Norte Conservation Act Heads for Full Senate Vote

Jul 30, 2015
The Wilderness Society released the following statement regarding the mark-up of the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act (S. 1240) in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“The Wilderness Society applauds the actions by Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall to introduce and guide the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act forward,“ said Michael Casaus, New Mexico Director with The Wilderness Society in Albuquerque. “Designating these two unique areas contained within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument as official wilderness ensures these wild and diverse landscapes that are so important to local communities receive the government’s highest level of protection.”

The proposed 13,420-acre Cerro del Yuta Wilderness would protect piñon pine, Douglas fir, grassland, and habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife. This rugged area is considered an iconic destination for outdoor recreationists, and at 10,093 feet in elevation, Cerro del Yuta (Ute Mountain) is the highest point on BLM land in New Mexico.

The proposed 8,000-acre Río San Antonio Wilderness would lie adjacent to San Antonio Mountain, comprising an open expanse of grassland, stretches of Douglas fir and spruce, and a gorge carved by the Río San Antonio River.

The proposed wilderness areas lie within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, designated in 2013 by President Obama, which contains habitat for wildlife including elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and golden eagles, and offers scenic vistas including wildflower-covered plains; the forested slopes of Carson National Forest; and the snow-capped peaks of the San Juan Mountains in the distance.

The Wilderness Society now calls for full Senate approval of the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act.

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The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org

Contact:  Michael Casaus: (505) 417-5288, michael_casaus@tws.org;  Ruben Valdillez: (720) 971.8677, ruben_valdillez@ tws.org