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House Hearing for Cibola NF Expansion Bill

For Immediate Release
Date: June 24, 2010
Contact: Nathan Newcomer, NM Wilderness Alliance
Phone: 505-250-4225

Bill to Expand Cibola National Forest Gets House Hearing

NM Wilderness Leader Applauds Needed Legislation

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance executive director Stephen Capra was on Capitol Hill today to testify in support of the Cibola National Forest Expansion legislation.  The measure, introduced by Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), would add the Crest of Montezuma to the north end of the Cibola National Forest and adds nearly 1,000 acres to the Manzano Wilderness on the forest’s western end.

Capra praised Congressman Heinrich for his outreach to varied constituency groups – tribes, Land Grant and Acequia communities, sportsmen and conservationists – in working to expand the forest, including the addition of important acreage to the existing Manzano Mountain Wilderness.   “The final product reflects the willingness of all participants to reach a workable compromise that will benefit all concerned and ensure greater protection for these important federal lands,” Capra testified.

“The transfer of these areas from the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management to the U.S. Forest Service as additions to the Cibola National Forest simply makes good common sense.  This action will ensure these lands are better managed—improving their recreational and wildlife habitat values,” he said.

The Sandia Mountains are known by Native Americans as the Watermelon Mountains, because of the beautiful colors that reflect off these peaks at sunset.  They are the dramatic backdrop of Albuquerque and a source of recreational opportunity and solitude for urban dwellers.  In 1978, New Mexico Senator Pete V. Domenici, working with conservationists and a diverse group of stakeholders, championed legislation creating the 38,000-acre Sandia Wilderness. This measure has since then provided Albuquerque residents a stunning landscape – free of development, which has become a staple for those looking for quiet recreation or to enjoy the beauty and solitude the “Land of Enchantment” has to offer.

“The addition of the Crest of Montezuma is an important addition to the Cibola National Forest,” Capra said.  “Bringing this area under the management of the U.S. Forest Service is also widely supported by the neighboring community of Placitas, where people have long asked for an expansion of the wilderness boundaries.”   Capra noted that both the Crest of Montezuma and the Manzanos are important wildlife corridors, home to deer, elk, black bear and mountain lion.

“For more than a quarter century, a small piece of the Manzano mountain has been left out of the wilderness boundary, leaving management of this area confusing and disconnected,” Capa testified.   “Congressman Heinrich has engendered solid collaboration and outreach to the Land Grant community and local sportsmen here to ensure that all-important voices have been heard as he developed this legislation.”

“The addition of the new wilderness will only enhance this remarkable landscape —where one can drop into a narrow canyon in the fall and enjoy the beauty of the native maple forests, or stand on the mountaintop and gaze literally hundreds of miles and see distant mountain ranges, the green cut of the Rio Grande, and watch hawks and Golden Eagles flying across this great expanse of American wilderness,” he concluded.

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance 2010 Wild Guide

For Immediate Release

Happy Trails and Wilderness Tales

 The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has just released its 2010 Wild Guide.

The NMWA, supported by more than 5,900 members, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the protection and restoration of wilderness in New Mexico. An important part of the NMWA’s work remains connecting people to wild public lands like Otero Mesa and the Valle Vidal. Whether you know the state well but would like to discover some of its lesser-known wilderness treasures, or you are a relative newcomer to New Mexico’s wild lands, you will find value in the the 2010 Wild Guide, which showcases some of our state’s greatest wilderness resources.

This year’s Guide features hikes and volunteer service projects, tributes to wilderness heroes, essays, and artwork. The Guide also contains recipes from members of Congress, articles on festivals around the state, and reviews of bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants.

 The volunteer service projects are conducted all across the state and involve a variety of activities. There are wildlife surveys to be done, ATV trails to be closed, acequias to be cleaned in the northern part of the state, and wilderness stewardship to be undertaken for the U.S. Forest Service. Hikes are also statewide, and all are led by New Mexico Wilderness Alliance staff. 

Through these hikes and volunteer service projects we hope to build awareness and support for the protection of New Mexico’s special landscapes, all the while having fun!

There is an outing for everyone, no matter your experience or fitness level. Whether you want to put on your gloves and give back to the land or simply enjoy a quiet walk through the Jornada del Muerto Wilderness Study Area, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance’s 2010 Wild Guide has an adventure waiting for you.

Happy Trails! 

Copies of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance’s 2010 Wild Guide can be purchased for only $9.95 by calling 505-843-8696, or by picking up a copy at REI in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Rep. Heinrich Introduces Bill Extending Cibola NF and Manzano Wilderness

For Immediate Release
Date: 5/25/10
Contact: Whitney Potter
Phone: (505) 346-6781
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From the Office of Rep. Martin Heinrich, 5/25/10

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) introduced legislation that would protect two areas of land in central New Mexico. The bill adds the Crest of Montezuma to the north end of the Cibola National Forest and extends a wilderness designation to the Manzano Wilderness Study Area to the south.

“For families living near Placitas, this legislation will ensure their access to critical water infrastructure for farm irrigation and other important uses,” said Rep. Heinrich during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives today. “It will also ensure that East Mountain families can use these places for recreation. Finally, it will preserve the areas’ critical role as a wildlife corridor for animals that migrate from north to south across our state.

“The Sandia and Manzano mountains are important to our quality of life, and high quality public lands are also important for attracting the jobs of the future that a strong quality of life help bring in,” said Jeremy Vesbach, director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “We are thankful to Representative Heinrich for working to protect the mountains we all love and care about, our kids and our economy benefit from actions like this.”

“Today’s introduction of legislation to add land to the Cibola National Forest, including additions to the Manzano Wilderness, makes it clear that Representative Heinrich is a champion for preserving New Mexico’s outstanding public lands for future generations,” said Nathan Newcomer, associate director, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.


Northern New Mexico Wilderness Bill Heads to Senate Floor

For Immediate Release
Date: December 16, 2009
Contact: John Olivas
Phone: (575) 387-2665
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Conservationist Group Cheers Senate Committee for Approving Measure

The Río Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act was approved by the Senate Energy Committee today, sending it to the full Senate for action. The measure, introduced by Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, will protect some 235,980 acres northwest of Taos, New Mexico, as a conservation area, including more than 21,420 acres of designated wilderness.

“Those who care about protecting what makes this state the ‘Land of Enchantment’ cheer the leadership of Senator Bingaman, and his work to ensure that our beautiful Río Grande area can stay forever just as it is today,” said John Olivas, Owner of JACO Outfitters, LLC and Northern Director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, based in Mora. “We thank the Senate Energy Committee for today approving this important legislation and for sending it to the Senate Floor for action.”

“This legislation will ensure that our New Mexico traditions like pinon and fire wood gathering; hunting and fishing; and ranching and grazing will continue, as will our ability to experience the rich scenery this land offers,” Olivas said. “The bill also recognizes the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, protecting the rights of our traditional communities for future generations.”

The area contains some of the most spectacular lands and habitat in the state, and is an important migratory flyway for a number of bird species. The Río Grande del Norte Conservation Area Establishment Act is supported by a broad cross-section of the community, including the Taos Chamber of Commerce, Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce, Taos County Commission, Wild Earth Llama Adventures, River and Birds in Taos, Taos Land Trust and the Taos Business Alliance along with more than 100 local businesses.