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2013

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  • April Reese, E&E reporter
    Published: Friday, September 27, 2013 

    POJOAQUE, N.M. — Visitors to the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico will soon be able to wander wherever they wish on foot — with some restrictions.

    The board of trustees that calls the shots on how to manage the lands voted unanimously yesterday in favor of a motion floated by Jason Lott, superintendent of neighboring Bandelier National Monument and an ex officio member of the board, to allow “unstructured foot traffic” in the 89,000-acre preserve’s vast meadows and forested knobs. Until now, visitors had to stay on a few short designated hiking trails.

    “I hear it all the time — ‘I just want to walk over there and take a picture,'” said Lott. “And you can’t do it.”

    The board has weathered considerable criticism for years from environmental groups and members of the public who thought access to the preserve, which sits atop a collapsed volcano, was far too limited.

    “Some of the board members feel frustrated with the work we’ve tried to do to get more access for hikers who want to experience this national treasure,” said Karyn Stockdale. She represents nonprofit conservation groups on the board, which is composed of seven members representing various interests, plus the monument superintendent and the supervisor of Santa Fe National Forest.

    A member of the preserve’s staff, however, warned that opening up the preserve to cross-country hiking without analyzing the potential environmental impacts of the decision may be in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

    “We have to look at effects on natural and cultural resources,” said Marie Rodriguez, director of planning and resources for the preserve.
    Lott said he has already determined there’s no need for a NEPA analysis before expanding hiking access.

    “Letting people go out there and walk around should not be an issue,” he said, adding that sensitive areas such as archaeological sites and elk calving grounds can be placed off-limits.

    It’s likely that more visitors will be taking Lott up on the offer: According to an earlier presentation by Lance Weinbrenner, a recreation specialist for the preserve, hiking increased from 1,128 visits last summer to 1,459 this year, partly due to the preserve waiving the $10 hiking fee after the Thompson Ridge fire burned through part of the area in June (Greenwire, Aug. 5).

    The new policy will go into effect Dec. 3, the day after hunting season ends.

    The board also voted to waive the admission fee for children under 16.

    When Congress designated the former Baca Ranch as a national preserve in 2000 at the urging of then-New Mexico Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D) and Pete Domenici (R), it did so on the condition that the preserve would be managed by a trust and stipulated that it should support itself financially, rather than through congressional appropriations like other federal lands. But although revenues have increased by 38 percent since 2008, the preserve has yet to bring in enough cash to meet that obligation.

    Only one other federal area has the same self-sufficiency mandate — the Presidio in San Francisco, a former military base within the Golden Gate National Monument. It has already achieved its self-sufficiency mandate.

    If the preserve isn’t able to pay its own way by 2015, it could be handed over to the Forest Service. Santa Fe National Forest borders the preserve, along with Bandelier National Monument and tribal land.

    There are some New Mexicans, however, who say the preserve would be better off under the wing of the Park Service. A long-languishing bill, reintroduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in February, calls for transferring the preserve to the service, which Udall and other supporters say is better equipped to oversee the preserve than either the trust or the Forest Service. The bill passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June but has yet to be scheduled for a floor vote.

    That it took years for the board to approve expanding hiking access to the preserve underscores the dysfunction of the current model, said Tom Jervis, president of the group Caldera Action.

    “I’m astonished it took them this long to do it,” he said.

  • THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    October 23, 2013 – 8:50 am EDT

    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Wildlife managers have resumed efforts to capture and remove from the wild three Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

    Fish and Wildlife Service officials initially authorized the captures in August and September, saying several livestock kills were linked to the Fox Mountain pack in New Mexico and the Paradise pack in Arizona.

    Efforts to capture one of the Fox Mountain wolves and the alpha male and female of the Paradise pack had been put on hold during the government shutdown.

    With work resuming, environmentalists argue that removing the wolves will undermine efforts to grow the population. The federal government has been working for 15 years to reintroduce wolves to the Southwest.

    Wildlife officials are also investigating the death of a wolf found in New Mexico in September.

  • THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    October 23, 2013 – 8:50 am EDT

    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Wildlife managers have resumed efforts to capture and remove from the wild three Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

    Fish and Wildlife Service officials initially authorized the captures in August and September, saying several livestock kills were linked to the Fox Mountain pack in New Mexico and the Paradise pack in Arizona.

    Efforts to capture one of the Fox Mountain wolves and the alpha male and female of the Paradise pack had been put on hold during the government shutdown.

    With work resuming, environmentalists argue that removing the wolves will undermine efforts to grow the population. The federal government has been working for 15 years to reintroduce wolves to the Southwest.

    Wildlife officials are also investigating the death of a wolf found in New Mexico in September.

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 – 4:45pm
    KTSM News

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Clergy from various religions showed their support for the proposed Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument in Dona Ana County Tuesday afternoon.

    30 clergy from 12 denominations will sign a letter to President Obama supporting action to designate about 600,000 acres of historic land as the national monument.

    “We should preserve this so that they can see the importance and feel not only the natural beauty but the spiritual alignment you get from these places,” said Grecia Nunez, project coordinator for Groundwork Dona Ana.

    The clergy said there’s a lot of religious history in the land ranging from Native Americans, the Spanish occupancy and other religions.

    Studies have shown protected land could generate more than $7 million of annual income and boost tourism.

    The group hopes the land will receive the designation by the president by year’s end.

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 – 4:45pm
    KTSM News

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Clergy from various religions showed their support for the proposed Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument in Dona Ana County Tuesday afternoon.

    30 clergy from 12 denominations will sign a letter to President Obama supporting action to designate about 600,000 acres of historic land as the national monument.

    “We should preserve this so that they can see the importance and feel not only the natural beauty but the spiritual alignment you get from these places,” said Grecia Nunez, project coordinator for Groundwork Dona Ana.

    The clergy said there’s a lot of religious history in the land ranging from Native Americans, the Spanish occupancy and other religions.

    Studies have shown protected land could generate more than $7 million of annual income and boost tourism.

    The group hopes the land will receive the designation by the president by year’s end.

  • Stunning snow capped Columbine Hondo Columbine Hondo Columbine Hondo

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    group 3 640x548 Sunset DSC 0020 002 640x428 Lobo Peak Columbine Hondo Goldhill hikers

  • Stunning snow capped Columbine Hondo Columbine Hondo Columbine Hondo

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    group 3 640x548 Sunset DSC 0020 002 640x428 Lobo Peak Columbine Hondo Goldhill hikers

  • For Immediate Release
    November 22, 2013

    Contact:
    John Olivas, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-379-5551

    NM Wild applauds U.S. Senate committee for taking up locally supported bill

    TAOS, NM (November 20, 2013) – The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild) applauded the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining for holding a hearing on the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act (S. 776). The legislation would protect 45,000 acres of incredible wildlife habitat, an important source of clean water, and a prized hunting and fishing destination.

    The Act was introduced by Senator Tom Udall and co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) introduced a House companion (H.R. 1683) that is co-sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1).

    “It’s amazing how a diverse community in Taos County has come together to speak to protect the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area,” said John Olivas, traditional community organizer for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “The legislation would protect 45,000 acres of land in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico.”

    On the heels of a newly designated Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, a diverse group of Taos County citizens has asked the New Mexico federal delegation to protect the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area as true wilderness. The coalition working on the Columbine Hondo and Rio Grande del Norte campaigns has been recognized by our federal delegation as a model for conservation campaigns throughout the country.

    “Taos County has unique and diverse groups of individuals and organizations who have stepped up to ask our federal delegation to move to protect this valuable resource,” said Olivas. “S776 does exactly that, by protecting the land, water and providing an economic engine for Taos County.”

    Just north of Taos, the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the last remaining portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to be designated as wilderness. It is crowned by 13 miles of high alpine ridges and peaks that tower above 11,000 feet, including its highest point, Gold Hill at 12,711 feet elevation.

    Columbine Hondo is home to elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bear, pine marten, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. This area is a significant clean water source for the central Rio Grande Corridor of New Mexico, supplying water to two of the larger Rio Grande tributaries – the Red River and the Rio Hondo. The water safeguarded in the Columbine Hondo area supplies many Acequias used by the local agricultural community.

    “Water is life here in New Mexico, and Columbine Hondo protects two of the Rio Grande largest tributaries,” said Esther Garcia, President of San Antonio Del Rio Colorado Land Grant and Mayor of the Village of Questa. “We are grateful that Senators Udall and Heinrich recognize the importance of this area for our traditional agricultural communities, and have acted to safeguard our culture and well-being.”

    Congress formally recognized the wilderness values and character of the Columbine Hondo area in 1980 and gave it interim protection as a WSA. Designation as wilderness is the highest form of protection, and bars any development. Former Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced legislation to protect Columbine Hondo in the 112th Congress, but it stalled, along with dozens of other conservation bills.

    NM Wild and the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition are hopeful that Congress follows Sen. Udall and Heinrich’s lead and protects New Mexico’s wilderness.

    ###

    The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild)  is a non-profit 501(C)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. The primary goal of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is to ensure the protection and restoration of all remaining wild lands in New Mexico through administrative designations, federal Wilderness designation, and ongoing stewardship.

     

  • For Immediate Release

    Contact:
    John Olivas, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-379-5551

    NM Wild applauds U.S. Senate committee for taking up locally supported bill

    TAOS, NM (November 20, 2013) – The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild) applauded the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining for holding a hearing on the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act (S. 776). The legislation would protect 45,000 acres of incredible wildlife habitat, an important source of clean water, and a prized hunting and fishing destination.

    The Act was introduced by Senator Tom Udall and co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) introduced a House companion (H.R. 1683) that is co-sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1).

    “It’s amazing how a diverse community in Taos County has come together to speak to protect the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area,” said John Olivas, traditional community organizer for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “The legislation would protect 45,000 acres of land in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico.”

    On the heels of a newly designated Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, a diverse group of Taos County citizens has asked the New Mexico federal delegation to protect the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area as true wilderness. The coalition working on the Columbine Hondo and Rio Grande del Norte campaigns has been recognized by our federal delegation as a model for conservation campaigns throughout the country.

    “Taos County has unique and diverse groups of individuals and organizations who have stepped up to ask our federal delegation to move to protect this valuable resource,” said Olivas. “S776 does exactly that, by protecting the land, water and providing an economic engine for Taos County.”

    Just north of Taos, the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the last remaining portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to be designated as wilderness. It is crowned by 13 miles of high alpine ridges and peaks that tower above 11,000 feet, including its highest point, Gold Hill at 12,711 feet elevation.

    Columbine Hondo is home to elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bear, pine marten, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. This area is a significant clean water source for the central Rio Grande Corridor of New Mexico, supplying water to two of the larger Rio Grande tributaries – the Red River and the Rio Hondo. The water safeguarded in the Columbine Hondo area supplies many Acequias used by the local agricultural community.

    “Water is life here in New Mexico, and Columbine Hondo protects two of the Rio Grande largest tributaries,” said Esther Garcia, President of San Antonio Del Rio Colorado Land Grant and Mayor of the Village of Questa. “We are grateful that Senators Udall and Heinrich recognize the importance of this area for our traditional agricultural communities, and have acted to safeguard our culture and well-being.”

    Congress formally recognized the wilderness values and character of the Columbine Hondo area in 1980 and gave it interim protection as a WSA. Designation as wilderness is the highest form of protection, and bars any development. Former Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced legislation to protect Columbine Hondo in the 112th Congress, but it stalled, along with dozens of other conservation bills.

    NM Wild and the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition are hopeful that Congress follows Sen. Udall and Heinrich’s lead and protects New Mexico’s wilderness.

    ###

    The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild)  is a non-profit 501(C)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. The primary goal of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is to ensure the protection and restoration of all remaining wild lands in New Mexico through administrative designations, federal Wilderness designation, and ongoing stewardship.

  • For Immediate Release
    November 22, 2013

    Contact:
    John Olivas, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-379-5551

    NM Wild applauds U.S. Senate committee for taking up locally supported bill

    TAOS, NM (November 20, 2013) – The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild) applauded the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining for holding a hearing on the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act (S. 776). The legislation would protect 45,000 acres of incredible wildlife habitat, an important source of clean water, and a prized hunting and fishing destination.

    The Act was introduced by Senator Tom Udall and co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) introduced a House companion (H.R. 1683) that is co-sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1).

    “It’s amazing how a diverse community in Taos County has come together to speak to protect the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area,” said John Olivas, traditional community organizer for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “The legislation would protect 45,000 acres of land in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico.”

    On the heels of a newly designated Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, a diverse group of Taos County citizens has asked the New Mexico federal delegation to protect the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area as true wilderness. The coalition working on the Columbine Hondo and Rio Grande del Norte campaigns has been recognized by our federal delegation as a model for conservation campaigns throughout the country.

    “Taos County has unique and diverse groups of individuals and organizations who have stepped up to ask our federal delegation to move to protect this valuable resource,” said Olivas. “S776 does exactly that, by protecting the land, water and providing an economic engine for Taos County.”

    Just north of Taos, the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the last remaining portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to be designated as wilderness. It is crowned by 13 miles of high alpine ridges and peaks that tower above 11,000 feet, including its highest point, Gold Hill at 12,711 feet elevation.

    Columbine Hondo is home to elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bear, pine marten, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. This area is a significant clean water source for the central Rio Grande Corridor of New Mexico, supplying water to two of the larger Rio Grande tributaries – the Red River and the Rio Hondo. The water safeguarded in the Columbine Hondo area supplies many Acequias used by the local agricultural community.

    “Water is life here in New Mexico, and Columbine Hondo protects two of the Rio Grande largest tributaries,” said Esther Garcia, President of San Antonio Del Rio Colorado Land Grant and Mayor of the Village of Questa. “We are grateful that Senators Udall and Heinrich recognize the importance of this area for our traditional agricultural communities, and have acted to safeguard our culture and well-being.”

    Congress formally recognized the wilderness values and character of the Columbine Hondo area in 1980 and gave it interim protection as a WSA. Designation as wilderness is the highest form of protection, and bars any development. Former Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced legislation to protect Columbine Hondo in the 112th Congress, but it stalled, along with dozens of other conservation bills.

    NM Wild and the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition are hopeful that Congress follows Sen. Udall and Heinrich’s lead and protects New Mexico’s wilderness.

    ###

    The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild)  is a non-profit 501(C)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. The primary goal of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is to ensure the protection and restoration of all remaining wild lands in New Mexico through administrative designations, federal Wilderness designation, and ongoing stewardship.

     

  • Please take a moment to thank New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation to express your support.

    This just in: Senators Udall and Heinrich as well as Congressman Ben Ray Lujan have just introduced legislation that would permanently protect the Columbine Hondo as a wilderness area! Please take a moment to thank them for this critical first step in getting this special area the protection it deserves.

    The Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area (WSA) deserves wilderness designation to protect its many values, including local traditional culture, watershed quality, wildlife habitat, as well as recreation and tourism.

    There is overwhelming local support for this designation with Taos County, the Town of Taos, the Village of Questa, Taos Pueblo, several local land grant, acequia and neighborhood associations and over 300 local businesses having endorsed the concept.

    The area contains headwaters of two major Rio Grande tributaries–the Red River and the Rio Hondo. Local acequias and agriculture rely heavily on both the quantity and quality of water coming from these and other streams that have headwaters in this area.

    Columbine Hondo provides some of the best habitat in Northern New Mexico for fish and game. Designating it wilderness would safeguard coldwater fisheries and a fragile high alpine ecosystem, including important seasonal habitat for wildlife such as elk, bighorn sheep and migratory birds. Intact habitat in wilderness areas means healthy populations of fish and wildlife for hunters and anglers, both in wilderness areas and in nearby and downstream non-wilderness areas.

    Please put in a quick phone call to New Mexico’s Senators and Rep. Lujan and tell their staff:

    1. I want to thank (member’s office you are calling) for introducing the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Act (also, tell them why this is important for you personally)
    2. Please let him know I want him to continue to work on this legislation to make sure it is enacted this Congress so that Columbine Hondo gets the protection it deserves.

    Senator Tom Udall: (202) 224-6621

    Senator Martin Heinrich: (202) 224-5521

    Congressman Ben Ray Lujan: (202) 225-6190

    For more information, visit: www.columbinehondo.org

  • Please take a moment to thank New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation to express your support.

    This just in: Senators Udall and Heinrich as well as Congressman Ben Ray Lujan have just introduced legislation that would permanently protect the Columbine Hondo as a wilderness area! Please take a moment to thank them for this critical first step in getting this special area the protection it deserves.

    The Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area (WSA) deserves wilderness designation to protect its many values, including local traditional culture, watershed quality, wildlife habitat, as well as recreation and tourism.

    There is overwhelming local support for this designation with Taos County, the Town of Taos, the Village of Questa, Taos Pueblo, several local land grant, acequia and neighborhood associations and over 300 local businesses having endorsed the concept.

    The area contains headwaters of two major Rio Grande tributaries–the Red River and the Rio Hondo. Local acequias and agriculture rely heavily on both the quantity and quality of water coming from these and other streams that have headwaters in this area.

    Columbine Hondo provides some of the best habitat in Northern New Mexico for fish and game. Designating it wilderness would safeguard coldwater fisheries and a fragile high alpine ecosystem, including important seasonal habitat for wildlife such as elk, bighorn sheep and migratory birds. Intact habitat in wilderness areas means healthy populations of fish and wildlife for hunters and anglers, both in wilderness areas and in nearby and downstream non-wilderness areas.

    Please put in a quick phone call to New Mexico’s Senators and Rep. Lujan and tell their staff:

    1. I want to thank (member’s office you are calling) for introducing the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Act (also, tell them why this is important for you personally)
    2. Please let him know I want him to continue to work on this legislation to make sure it is enacted this Congress so that Columbine Hondo gets the protection it deserves.

    Senator Tom Udall: (202) 224-6621

    Senator Martin Heinrich: (202) 224-5521

    Congressman Ben Ray Lujan: (202) 225-6190

    For more information, visit: www.columbinehondo.org

  • The Taos News
    Monday, April 22, 2013 

    New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation has reintroduced legislation to designate the 45,000-acre Columbine-Hondo area as a wilderness.

    The area, located north of Taos, has been managed by Carson National Forest as a “wilderness study area” since 1980. Retired U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman introduced legislation to give the Columbine-Hondo full wilderness status about a year ago, but Congress failed to pass it.

    U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-NM, and Martin Heinrich, D-NM, reintroduced a bill in the Senate Monday (April 22) in honor of Earth Day. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, is expected to introduce a companion bill in the House Tuesday (April 23). The effort enjoys wide support in Taos County from local groups and governmental bodies, including Taos Pueblo, acequia associations, the Taos County Commission and municipal councils.

    “For more than 30 years we have considered the Columbine Hondo’s economic, recreational and scenic values for protection,” Udall is quoted as saying in a delegation release. “And Taos County locals resoundingly agree that this area is deserving of permanent wilderness status. Designating the Columbine Hondo as wilderness will only increase profitable tourism opportunities and provide for continued traditional land uses, such as hunting and grazing.”

    For more information, read Thursday’s (April 25) edition of The Taos News.

  • The Taos News
    Monday, April 22, 2013 

    New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation has reintroduced legislation to designate the 45,000-acre Columbine-Hondo area as a wilderness.

    The area, located north of Taos, has been managed by Carson National Forest as a “wilderness study area” since 1980. Retired U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman introduced legislation to give the Columbine-Hondo full wilderness status about a year ago, but Congress failed to pass it.

    U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-NM, and Martin Heinrich, D-NM, reintroduced a bill in the Senate Monday (April 22) in honor of Earth Day. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, is expected to introduce a companion bill in the House Tuesday (April 23). The effort enjoys wide support in Taos County from local groups and governmental bodies, including Taos Pueblo, acequia associations, the Taos County Commission and municipal councils.

    “For more than 30 years we have considered the Columbine Hondo’s economic, recreational and scenic values for protection,” Udall is quoted as saying in a delegation release. “And Taos County locals resoundingly agree that this area is deserving of permanent wilderness status. Designating the Columbine Hondo as wilderness will only increase profitable tourism opportunities and provide for continued traditional land uses, such as hunting and grazing.”

    For more information, read Thursday’s (April 25) edition of The Taos News.

  • Public News Service
    Troy Wilde
    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    SANTA FE, N.M. – The Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area near Taos has another chance of being upgraded to a full-fledged federal wilderness area. A U.S. Senate subcommittee is holding a hearing this week on the “Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act.” It would add protections that would ensure that generations to come would be able to hunt, fish, camp and hike in the area.

    Max Trujillo with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation said there appears to be broad political support for the idea.

    “It should go through the Senate pretty easily; there should be bipartisan support in the committee. It should pass pretty easily,” Trujillo said.

    Earlier attempts to protect the area haven’t made it through Congress, but Trujillo predicted that, this time, the bill will get House approval if the Senate passes it. Columbine-Hondo is known for world-class fishing and hiking trails that reach 12,000 feet in elevation.

    Trujillo, who calls himself an avid hunter, called the 45,000-acre Columbine-Hondo a sportsman’s paradise. “Everything from bighorn sheep, elk, deer, turkey, blue grouse is up in there,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of game species.”

    The area is also a significant clean-water source for the central Rio Grande Corridor of New Mexico. It supplies water to two of the larger Rio Grande tributaries: the Red River and the Rio Hondo. –

  • Public News Service
    Troy Wilde
    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    SANTA FE, N.M. – The Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area near Taos has another chance of being upgraded to a full-fledged federal wilderness area. A U.S. Senate subcommittee is holding a hearing this week on the “Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act.” It would add protections that would ensure that generations to come would be able to hunt, fish, camp and hike in the area.

    Max Trujillo with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation said there appears to be broad political support for the idea.

    “It should go through the Senate pretty easily; there should be bipartisan support in the committee. It should pass pretty easily,” Trujillo said.

    Earlier attempts to protect the area haven’t made it through Congress, but Trujillo predicted that, this time, the bill will get House approval if the Senate passes it. Columbine-Hondo is known for world-class fishing and hiking trails that reach 12,000 feet in elevation.

    Trujillo, who calls himself an avid hunter, called the 45,000-acre Columbine-Hondo a sportsman’s paradise. “Everything from bighorn sheep, elk, deer, turkey, blue grouse is up in there,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of game species.”

    The area is also a significant clean-water source for the central Rio Grande Corridor of New Mexico. It supplies water to two of the larger Rio Grande tributaries: the Red River and the Rio Hondo. –

  • Jim Mathews of the Pew Charitable Trusts talks about visiting Rio Grande del Norte with NM Wild staffer John Olivas.

    http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/other-resources/dispatch-from-northern-new-mexico-85899452314

  • Jim Mathews of the Pew Charitable Trusts talks about visiting Rio Grande del Norte with NM Wild staffer John Olivas.

    http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/other-resources/dispatch-from-northern-new-mexico-85899452314

  • Dec 2013 Fundraiser AngelFinal

    Dear Friend,

    Do you ever worry that you won’t be able to see that one special corner of New Mexico before it’s too late? Before it’s developed for oil and gas extraction or destroyed by human use?

    Angel Pena, a graduate student at New Mexico State University, is involved in wilderness protection with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance: “I have been an advocate for wilderness due to a strong sense of urgency to play outside before it was too late…A feeling I wouldn’t want to leave for my daughter…”

    At the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, we’re working hard every day to ensure that there will be a future with wilderness for Angel’s daughter and everyone’s children and grandchildren. We hope you’ll join us by giving a year-end, tax-deductible gift to our wilderness protection campaigns. Give now. 

    Angel is the cultural resources specialist and Hispanic organizer for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. He has lived in the Land of Enchantment since 2006. He has completed a degree in anthropology and is currently finalizing a graduate degree in archaeology from New Mexico State University. With a commitment to preserving the history, culture and spirit of the south west, Angel works to connect local youth, as well as the Hispanic community, to environmental and cultural heritage studies and recreation opportunities of the area.

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