News

News

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.

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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.

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.

Doña Ana County Wilderness Bill Introduced!

For Immediate Release

Sportsmen, business owners, conservationists, local elected officials and other community members hailed the introduction today of The Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act, by Senator Jeff Bingaman and Senator Tom Udall. The measure will protect nearly 400,000 acres of public land in Dona Ana County, by designating 271,050 acres as wilderness and creating a 109,600-acre National Conservation Area around the Organ and Doña Ana Mountains and parts of Broad Canyon.

“We applaud Senators Bingaman and Udall for their dedication to ensuring that more of New Mexico’s beloved wild places will be around for our children’s children to use and enjoy,” said Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima. “Their bill follows years of discussion and collaboration with community members with many different interests and concerns.”

Bonnie Burn, President of the League of Women Voters, added, “We all share the goal of protecting Doña Ana County’s unique and precious open areas which add so much to our quality of life.”

“This important conservation bill comes as the nation celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act,” said Stephen Capra, executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “That broadly backed measure allowed citizens to add other worthy wild places to our preservation system. It is fitting that it will help us today protect such beloved area icons as the Organ Mountains and Broad Canyon.”

“The Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act will ensure that our grandchildren can hunt in and enjoy these areas as we have done,” said Sandy Schemnitz, President of the Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen. “A New Mexico sportsman– Aldo Leopold – first conceived the idea of wilderness to preserve the hunting he’d come to love in the Gila. Today, Doña Ana County sportsmen are delighted that this legislation will help us pass down our traditions.”

“It’s not surprising that over a hundred local businesses support greater protection for the wilderness in ‘our backyards,’” said John Munoz, of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce.“We’re beginning to understand how wilderness attracts visitors who come here to camp, hike, hunt, explore, open businesses and ultimately keep our cash registers ringing and our livelihoods thriving.”

A 2006 poll of Doña Ana County residents by Public Opinion Strategies found that a majority of residents favor protecting wilderness in the area. The municipalities of Las Cruces, Sunland Park, Mesilla and the Doña Ana County Commission have adopted resolutions supporting protection of these areas to boost the local economies.

In a tough compromise, the bill crafted by the Senators contains 30,000 less acres of wilderness than proposed by conservationists. However, they applaud Senators Bingaman and Udall for reaching out to all parties to address any and all issues. The measure will protect rare grasslands in the Potrillo and Uvas Mountains, petroglyph sites and riparian areas in Broad Canyon, crucial watersheds, and the iconic spires of Las Cruces’ signature attraction: the Organ Mountains.

“Our wild places truly make New Mexico the ‘Land of Enchantment.’ This important new bill will help ensure more of it will stay just as it is,” said Don Patterson, of the Back Country Horseman. “We urge Congress to pass this common sense conservation bill soon, and send it to the president.”

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