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For Immediate Release
May 27, 2014

Contact: Tina Deines
505-843-8696, ext. 104
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Albuquerque—May 27, 2014—New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness is celebrating its 90th birthday June 3—it was the first protected wilderness in the United States. To commemorate this anniversary, NM Wild Executive Director Mark Allison and Gila Grassroots Organizer Nathan Newcomer are embarking on a historic 50 mile, rugged Gila River trek starting today.

The purpose of this trek is two-fold. First, NM Wild plans to deliver once again on our Gila Wilderness protection promise through field research—that’s the work of Mark and Nathan.

Allison and Newcomer will speak aloud, within the heart of the Gila Wilderness, names given to NM Wild by its membership to commemorate friends and family who shared a love of the Gila.

From Aldo Leopold and the creation of America’s first designated wilderness to Senator Clinton P. Anderson’s role in passing the Wilderness Act of 1964, New Mexico has a rich and proud legacy protecting wild places.

“During this special anniversary year, we want to remind ourselves why wilderness is essential, honor the vision and efforts of those who came before us and renew our commitment to protect additional deserving lands now under threat” stated Allison. “Being entrusted with the names and stories of our members’ loved ones is deeply humbling and causes me to look forward to experiencing this special place again even more with the reminder that it will remain long after we’re gone for future generations to discover and enjoy and fiercely protect.”

The Gila Wilderness and the adjacent Aldo Leopold Wilderness is one of the largest and wildest areas in the lower 48. The beautiful Gila River is one of the last wild, free flowing rivers in the Southwest (and currently under threat from an ill-conceived diversion plan.) The Gila holds a special place in the hearts of many.

NM Wild research confirms miles of the Gila River are eligible for protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

On June 4, Allison and Newcomer will talk about the results of this Gila trek with a “virtual hike” experience taking place at the Silver City Museum at 2 p.m. This coincides with the Gila Wild exhibit, which kicked off May 24.

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance 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 on-going advocacy.


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