Beyond the protection of nationally significant natural features like the Río Grande Gorge and Taos Plateau, it is important that we protect and pay tribute to the heart of one of the oldest continually habituated landscapes on the continent. A National Conservation Area or National Monument will pay tribute not just to the beauty of the land, but the role it has played in sustaining and shaping the cultures of the local communities that are a part of this landscape.
Permanent protection will ensure the continuation of backcountry hunting and opportunities for wildlife viewing. Stretches of the river within the proposed protected area – such as the Razorblades which offer some of the most challenging kayak runs in New Mexico – will continue to be open for people to kayak and fish.
As a permanently protected area, the Bureau of Land Management will manage the landscape in a way that would largely keep it free from energy development, infrastructure and roads that could have otherwise destroyed valuable natural and cultural resources and disturb the backcountry recreation experience of visitors to the area. Thus, the status quo of the lands proposed for monument designation will not be dramatically altered by its protection, but the community will know that that future generations could use and enjoy the area as it exists today.
National Conservation Lands
Once protected as either a National Conservation Area or National Monument, Rio Grande Del Norte will become part of America’s National Conservation Lands (formally known as the National Landscape Conservation System). Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, these 27 million acres of nationally significant landscapes have been set aside for current and future generations because of their outstanding cultural, ecological and scientific importance.
The National Conservation Lands consist of the last places where you can experience the history of the American West. From the rivers which Lewis and Clark explored, to pioneer trails, to Native American sites, the heritage and beauty of these places are safeguarded for all to see.