Senators Udall and Heinrich launch bill to protect Chaco Canyon

May 22, 2018

Chaco Culture Natural Historical Park, New Mexico

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society
Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, a bill to protect the lands around Chaco Canyon in New Mexico from further development by the federal government.

The bill would protect Chaco ruins and the greater landscape surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park by preventing any future leasing or development of minerals owned by the federal government located within a protected radius around Chaco.

The Wilderness Society supports the legislation and thanks the senators for their leadership. The bill is also supported by Navajo Nation, All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and Southwest Native Cultures.

Michael Casaus, New Mexico Director for The Wilderness Society, said:

“More leasing and drilling could destroy the Greater Chaco Landscape and decisive action is needed to save it.  Fortunately, Senators Udall and Heinrich are taking action with a bill to protect irreplaceable sacred sites and history.  We deeply appreciate the efforts that our senators are making to ensure the interests of the Pueblos and Navajo Nation are permanently safeguarded through this withdrawal.”

The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million 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.   

Contacts: Michael Casaus,