According to a new study cited by the Taos County Chamber of Commerce, designating the Rio Grande del Norte as a national monument would have a “significant” impact on the local economy, resulting in an annual economic impact of approximately $15 million, and creating nearly 300 new jobs.
Those figures come from a new independent study by BBC Research and Consulting. By estimating current and future spending by national monument visitors, the study concluded that, “a public land designation, such as a national monument, may signal enhanced quality of a potential visitor experience, substantially increasing visitation.”
The Taos Chamber of Commerce also noted the recent letter sent to President Obama by U.S. Sens. Udall and Bingaman, requesting national monument status for Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains.
“Protecting Rio Grande del Norte as a national monument clearly makes good business sense,” said Brad Malone, Chairman of the Taos County Chamber of Commerce. “This study suggests that recognizing the area as a national monument should bring more folks from across the country and around the world here to visit. We know how spectacular this place is, but having such recognition will raise awareness of its value enormously. In addition, the national monument designation would protect wildlife habitat prized by hunters and anglers and a broad variety of archeological and historic resources for future generations.”
Read the entire Taos County Chamber Press Release here.
Taos County Commissioners Larry Sanchez and Nicklos Jaramillo announced their support today for U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman. Earlier this week, Udall and Bingaman submitted a letter to President Obama requesting National Monument status for two areas in New Mexico – the Rio Grande del Norte, and the Organ Mountains in Dona Ana County.
“Senator Bingaman and Senator Udall continue to champion the protection of the Rio Grande del Norte,” Taos County Commissioner Nicklos Jaramillo said. “Even the political stalemate in Congress can’t dissuade them from fighting for our economy and our cultural heritage, and all of Taos County joins me in appreciation.”
Both Sanchez and Jaramillo stressed the broad local support for designating Rio Grande del Norte, and the many benefits such a designation would bring.
“I support the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument as a county commissioner, and as a veteran,” said Taos County Commissioner Larry Sanchez. “These lands matter for our water supplies, our livestock, our tourism economy, and our outdoor way of life. But the Rio Grande del Norte also offers healing to veterans returning from war, and a respite for all of us. I commend our senators for urging the president to act where Congress has not, and protect a place integral to our community.”
Read the full release from the Taos County Commissioners here.
New Mexico hunters and anglers have voiced their support of U.S. Senators Bingaman and Udall, who on Thursday submitted a letter to President Obama requesting the designation of National Monuments at Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains. In their letter, Sens. Udall and Bingaman cited the broad local support for protecting the two locations, as well as the inability of Congress to act before the year is up.
“For anglers, permanent protection of this stretch of the Rio Grande is the key to long-term health of our local fishing opportunity and the economic contribution that fishing brings to this area,” said Nick Streit, owner of the Taos Fly Shop and a lifelong Taos hunter and angler.
Hunting guide Mark Casias of Taos also applauded the senators’ request for national monument status for El Rio Grande del Norte. “Residents of northern New Mexico have
used this area for centuries to feed their families and pass on the hunting tradition,” he said. “As a national monument, we can be assured that those uses will continue on into the future.”
Read the entire announcement here.
U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman have submitted a letter to the White House requesting President Obama consider designating two special areas in New Mexico as National Monuments – the Rio Grande del Norte, and the Organ Mountains and additional public lands down in Dona Ana County. The senators themselves have sponsored legislation that would elevate these two areas to National Conservation Area or Wilderness Area status, but acknowledged in their letter how difficult it has been to pass legislation in this Congress.
Udall and Bingaman’s letter to the President stated:
New Mexicans on every level, from grassroots campaigns to Mayors and County Commissioners, have expressed their support for the protection of these special places. Community leaders, business owners, student groups, and conservation advocates from across New Mexico have traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with your staff and representatives at the Department of Interior to lend their support for the protection of the Rio Grande del Norte in Taos County and the Organ, Potrillos, Robledo Mountains and related areas in Dona Ana County. Still, there is much work to be done to ensure these areas are protected this year.
We will continue to work to advance legislation in the Senate to conserve these important areas in New Mexico, but in the absence of any certainty about the passage of the legislation, we believe you should work with local communities to explore how a National Monument designation would protect the archeological and cultural resources in these two regions.
In their subsequent news release, Sens. Udall and Bingaman stressed that by designating the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains as National Monuments, the lands and their wildlife habitat could be protected while preserving existing uses such as hunting, fishing and grazing.
Read the complete Letter to President Obama here.
More from the Albuquerque Journal can be found here.