Northern New Mexico on track for a National Monument

Big horn sheep in Rio Grande del Norte

Taylor Streit

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar listens as community members voice unanimous support for Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

On Saturday, December 15, 2012, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited New Mexico to listen to the local community that wants to protect Rio Grande del Norte.

People from across New Mexico have come together to protect this gem that defines Northern New Mexico’s natural and cultural history. In addition to protecting the world-renown Rio Grande Gorge, it would also protect the Taos Plateau.

Rio Grande del Norte boasts a number of unique traits: 

  • Ute Mountain, which towers over the region
  • Elk, bald eagle, peregrine falcon and great horned owl habitat
  • Hiking, camping, rafting, hunting and fishing opportunities

Worst Congress Ever

New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Ben Ray Luján introduced legislation to protect Rio Grande del Norte. Sadly, many conservation bills, like Rio Grande del Norte, are stalled in Congress.

The 112th Congress is on track to down in history as the first Congress since 1966 to not protect wilderness.

Due to this inaction, Hispano leaders and organizations, small business owners and the Taos and Mora Valley Chambers of Commerce, sportsmen and ranchers, Native American Pueblos and elected officials, and conservation organizations have all come together to ask President Obama to use the Antiquities Act to permanently protect the Rio Grande Gorge and Taos Plateau.

Benefits to the local community

A Rio Grande del Norte National Monument would benefit Northern New Mexico’s way of life by: 

  • Respecting water rights and enabling access to the area
  •  Protecting Native American Pueblo religious and cultural sites
  • Ensuring that people near and far have a place to hike, raft, camp, hunt and fish
  • Fueling an estimated $15 million for Northern New Mexico

What you can do!

Please help us thank President Obama and Secretary Salazar for considering a Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Edit this letter to President Obama, asking him to protect Rio Grande del Norte and another special gem in Southern New Mexico, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

Remember to add a sentence to the letter thanking them for the “listening session.”

Edit letter here: http://bit.ly/U1GrFV

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