Rich in history and culture, Bernalillo County boasts turquoise skies, sunny days and clean desert air, all of which lure visitors from around the world to explore our amazing landscapes from the Sandia Mountains to the Rio Puerco.
County residents share a heartfelt commitment to protect this enchanted place and continue to take steps to preserve its breathtaking views, fragile water resources, wildlife habitat, cultural and historic sites and prime agricultural land for the health of our community and our economy.
Bernalillo County government, for example, has made a significant commitment to help create the Southwest's first urban wildlife refuge on the former Price's Dairy property and recently participated in several workshops with the U.S. Department of Interior to gather public input.
The proposed refuge for local wildlife and local residents will become a reality, in part, because this community recognizes the importance of protecting our natural and cultural resources and providing side-by-side opportunities for economic growth, education and recreation.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar supports this community-driven approach to conservation. He recently announced a policy that allows counties like ours across the West to weigh in with federal land managers to let them know when we think the public lands we use and love are deserving of additional protections. The Bureau of Land Management's "Wild Lands" policy ensures that the wilderness qualities of critical landscapes throughout the West will again be considered in public lands management decisions.
Those of us who are responsible for building our local and regional economies also share the responsibility for protecting our way of life in the West.
We expect the federal government to be a good partner in our local efforts, and the new Wild Lands policy ensures that if our community wants added protections for our public lands, that local input will be heard.