Published: Wednesday, 07 October 2015 08:28
April 15, 2010
Conservationists Cheer Rep. Lujan’s Companion Legislation
Representative Ben Lujan’s introduction of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives today to protect nearly 236,000 acres in northern New Mexico was hailed as an important step forward in ensuring this wild land stays as it is for future generations. The measure is the House companion legislation to the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act, introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman in the U.S. Senate.
“We are pleased that Congressman Lujan is championing this important measure in Congress, and look forward to working with him to see this conservation bill become law this year,” said John Olivas, Northern Director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, based in Mora. “New Mexicans value their hunting and outdoor traditions, and this legislation will enable us to pass down those traditions to our children and grandchildren.”
Nearly 236,000 acres will be designated as a National Conservation Area (NCA), including two wilderness areas – the 13,420-acre Cerro del Yuta Wilderness (the iconic Ute Mountain) and the 8,000-acre Rio San Antonio Wilderness. The area includes some of New Mexico’s most spectacular landscapes, including the Rio Grande gorge – which at some places is a half mile wide across, dropping to the Rio Grande River 800 feet below, and is a vital migratory flyway for a number of bird species.
“Those of us with deep roots here appreciate that this legislation preserves grazing within the National Conservation Area and specifically protects our right to hunt, fish and collect piñon nuts and firewood,” said Esther Garcia, President of San Antonio Del Rio Colorado Land Grant and Mayor of Questa. “It directs the Bureau of Land Management to protect the cultural, natural and scenic resources in the area, and protects rights granted under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This measure will help ensure that we are good stewards of the land.”
The legislation is broadly backed by area businesses, which recognize the importance of wilderness designation to local economies. Supporters include the Taos Chamber of Commerce, the Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Taos County Commission, and more than one hundred local businesses.
Published: Wednesday, 07 October 2015 08:26
March 18, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
By Tom Travin
Of the Albuquerque Journal
If you’re looking for an escape from city life but aren’t sure where to go, the Wild Guide might be just the thing to help you find your way.
Produced annually by the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, the book is a collection of disparate bits of information, all centered on the great outdoors and ways to celebrate and protect it.
The 2010 edition features both guided hikes and organized volunteer projects around the state, as well as essays, recipes from members of Congress, assorted artwork and photography, articles on festivals and reviews of bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants.
Another important aspect of the book is its call for assistance with wilderness stewardship, which involves partnering with the U.S. Forest Service to meet standards for management of wilderness areas.
Volunteers are being sought for campsite and invasive plant inventories in four areas in New Mexico: the Latir, Dome, Pecos and Manzano wildernesses. There will be training sessions on May 8 in Santa Fe and May 25 and 27 in Albuquerque.
Some of the hikes sponsored by the Wilderness Alliance include:
• Mesa Gallina in Pecata Pinta Country, on May 8. The hike will ascend to the summit (at 7,855 feet) of Mesa Gallina in Cibola County.
• Brokeoff Mountains, west of the Lincoln National Forest and north of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, near Carlsbad, on May 29. The alliance is proposing that 65,000 acres be designated as a wilderness area.
• Ute Mountain, near the Colorado border, east of Costilla, N.M., on July 10. Ute Mountain covers 14,344 acres in Taos County and is one of the proposed wilderness areas in legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. The volcano is a foraging and nesting habitat for many species.
• Sandia Crest: Test of Endurance and Will, on Sept. 25. This is a 22-plus-hour hike over 50 miles with major gains and losses in elevation and is only for those in peak physical condition. It will cover the length of the Sandias, and much of it will take place at night under a full moon.
There are also a number of volunteer service projects available through the Wilderness Alliance.
Those are scheduled in places including Junta y Cienega in Embudo from April 2-4, the Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe on May 8, the Wild Rivers Recreation Area near Questa from July 16-18, and a Gila Wilderness backpacking excursion from Sept. 3-6.
For more information on the Wilderness Alliance, visit www.nmwild.org.