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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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Community applauds protecting sensitive areas within Río Grande del Norte National Monument

Senators Heinrich and Udall reintroduce bill to protect wilderness within the national monument

Susan Torres,, 908-331-1472

TAOS, NM (Feburary 17, 2017) – A diverse coalition today applauded the reintroduction of the Cerro del Yuta and Rio San Antonio Wilderness Act. This legislation would designate two new wilderness areas – Cerro del Yuta and Río San Antonio) – within the national monument and was introduced by Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall.

The Senators also reintroduced the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act today, which would preserve wilderness within the southern New Mexico national monument. The reintroductions come as communities across the country are seeing an aggressive assault on America’s public lands, including national monuments.

Designated in 2013, Río Grande del Norte National Monument was supported by business owners, sportsmen, tribal leaders, local and federal elected officials, and grazing permittees. The two proposed wilderness areas in the Cerro del Yuta and Rio San Antonio Wilderness Act will comprise 21,420 acres of the 242,500-acre national monument northwest of Taos, New Mexico.

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.

“One of the main reasons people visit the Taos area is to venture into our magnificent wilderness areas and rushing waters,” said Francisco Guevara, Owner of Los Rios River Runners. “Protecting wilderness within the incredible Río Grande del Norte National Monument is necessary to continue to grow our tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. It will also safeguard our sources of clean water that sustains our communities.”

Grazing would continue in places where it already occurs, and water rights would not be impacted. Traditional activities like wood and piñon gathering would also continue.
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 foster world-class recreation opportunities already enjoyed within the national monument, such as hiking, hunting, and fishing for future.

“Wildlife is only as healthy as the lands and waters that it depends on,” said Ivan Valdez, co-owner of The Reel Life fly shop in Santa Fe. “These two wilderness designations will ensure that our children and grandchildren of hunters and anglers will always have access to their birthright just as we do today. I want to thank Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall for their steadfast leadership in safeguarding our natural heritage that belongs to all of us.”



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