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The announcement of a national monument designation has come in response to considerable input from the community and nearly the entire New Mexico congressional delegation.

The Río Grande del Norte National Monument will boost economic growth in Northern New Mexico while permanently protecting our heritage, our water and 242,000 acres of natural areas and wildlife habitat in the region.

Esther García, Mayor of the Village of QuestaPresidential Proclamation – Río Grande del Norte National Monument

Statements from Community Members

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 come together to thank President Obama for protecting Río Grande del Norte National Monument.

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Cerros del Norte Conservation Act achieves major milestone in U.S. Senate

Senate passes measure to protect special areas as wilderness within Río Grande del Norte National Monument

TAOS, NM (April 20, 2016) – A diverse coalition applauded the U.S. Senate passage of the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act (S. 1240) today. The measure passed as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012).

The legislation would provide extra protection for special areas contained within Río Grande del Norte National Monu¬ment by designating two new wilderness areas –Cerro del Yuta and Río San Antonio. Designated by President Obama in 2013, Río Grande del Norte National Monu¬ment is supported by business owners, sportsmen, tribal leaders, local and federal elected officials, and grazing permittees. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall introduced the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act following the national monument designation to protect these wilderness areas.

“My livelihood depends on the wild places within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument,” said Nick Streit, owner of Taos Fly Shop. “Wilderness areas provide the best wildlife habitat for the numerous species that call this area home. I want to thank Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall for protecting our economy, traditions, and way of life.”

The proposed wilderness areas within the national monument serve as one of the world’s great avian migratory routes. It is also home to important game species like pronghorn and elk. The legislation would also safeguard world-class recreation opportunities already enjoyed within the national monument, such as hiking, hunting, and fishing. Grazing would continue in already-existing areas and water rights would not be impacted.

“Wilderness within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument would safeguard precious water that is vital to our wellbeing,” said Ester Garcia, President of the San Antonio del Rio Colorado Land Grant in Questa. “Waters that flow to our acequias are protected by the wildest lands within the national monument. I want to thank Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall for protecting our lifeblood-our water.”

Wilderness designation within the national monument will boost local businesses. One year after President Obama designated the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, there was a 40 percent increase in visitors and a 21 percent increase in the Town of Taos Lodgers’ Tax Revenue. Additionally, a recent EcoNorthwest study found that “quiet recreation” on Bureau of Land Management lands generated $173 million dollars and supported 1,712 jobs across the state.

“People come near and far for the natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities”, said Dan Irion, co-founder of Taos Mesa Brewing. “Local businesses depend on these visitors that support our economy. Safeguarding wilderness within the national monument will protect businesses like mine throughout the region.”

The two proposed wilderness areas in the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act will comprise 21,540 acres of the 242,500-acre national monument northwest of Taos, New Mexico.

  1. Big Step forward as Cerros del Norte Conservation Act clears Senate committee Comments Off
  2. Ah, Wilderness for Río Grande del Norte National Monument Comments Off
  3. Opinion: President Obama should seek conservation legacy in New Mexico Comments Off
  4. Taos Pueblo passes resolution supporting Rio Grande del Norte proposals Comments Off
  5. Sportsmen show support for monument proposal Comments Off
  6. Audubon New Mexico’s Executive Director discusses protecting Rio Grande Gorge region Comments Off
  7. More support for Rio Grande del Norte monument Comments Off
  8. Audience at Taos public meeting expresses overwhelming support for Rio Grande monument Comments Off
  9. A view of the Rio Grande del Norte Comments Off