New Mexico Wild Celebrates Introduction of Chaco Protection Legislation

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

May 22, 2018


Mark Allison, New Mexico Wild, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-239-0906

Judy Calman, New Mexico Wild, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-615-5020


New Mexico Wild Celebrates Introduction of Chaco Protection Legislation

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - On Tuesday, May 22nd, New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced legislation in Congress to protect the area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been subjected to rampant oil and gas development for many decades. The areas immediately surrounding the park are some of the only places in the San Juan Basin that remain relatively undeveloped.

If the bill passes, no additional land managed by the Bureau of Land Management within ten miles of the park and certain significant outlying sites could ever be leased for mineral extraction.

“Despite outcries from local communities, tribes, and conservation organizations, the Bureau of Land Management continues to allow oil and gas companies to lease parcels near sacred sites and the boundary of the park itself,” said Judy Calman, Staff Attorney for New Mexico Wild. “Parcels slated for the March lease sale were temporarily deferred, but we fully expect them to be re-nominated for the December lease sale. This Administration seems determined to lease as much public land for mineral extraction as it can, and we are very encouraged by the Senators’ action.”

Chaco and its surrounding areas are sacred to both the Navajo Nation and the pueblos of the Southwest. It contains myriad archaeological sites, including entire structures from thousands of years ago. It is still used today for religious ceremonies, and attracts visitors from all over the world, greatly contributing to the local economy.

“Many Chacoan sites exist outside the Park's official boundaries, so lease sales by BLM in the surrounding area almost always mean the loss of artifacts, history, and sacred sites as well as wildlands, habitat and dark skies.  This bill represents a major step forward toward permanently protecting the area’s rich cultural heritage, world-class archaeological resources and sensitive natural landscape,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild. “We are proud to stand in solidarity with the All Pueblo Council of Governors and the Navajo Nation supporting this legislation and want to express our profound thanks to Senators Udall and Heinrich for their leadership.”

More information on the bill can be found HERE and text of the bill can be found HERE.

The Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act is supported by Navajo Nation, All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), New Mexico Wild, the Wilderness Society, and Southwest Native Cultures. The resolution in support from APCG can be found HERE.

This Act would permanently withdraw 316,076 acres of oil, natural gas, coal and other minerals owned by the U.S. Federal Government. Existing federal mineral leases as well future leases of state, tribal, and allottee minerals would not be impacted by this withdrawal. See map: Proposed Chaco Protection Zone


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New Mexico Wild Applauds Protecting Special Areas within Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

New Mexico Wild applauds protecting special areas within

Río Grande del Norte National Monument

Congressman Ben Ray Lujàn introduces bill to protect wilderness

Contact: Mark Allison, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-239-0906

TAOS, NM (April 24, 2018) – New Mexico Wild joined a broad coalition today applauding the introduction of the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act in the House of Representatives. The legislation would provide extra protection for special areas contained within the Río Grande del Norte National Monu­ment by designating two wilderness areas – Ute Mountain (Cerro del Yuta) and San Antonio Mountain (Río San Antonio). Congressman Ben Ray Lujan introduced the bill. An identical bill introduced by Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall passed the Senate in December.

A poll conducted by Third Eye Strategies in 2016 found that ninety-three percent of registered voters in Taos County believe that wilderness is important to them. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed believe it is important for public lands to be preserved for future generations.

Designated in 2013, Río Grande del Norte National Monu­ment continues to enjoy overwhelming community support, including the backing of business owners, sportsmen, tribal leaders, land grant heirs, local elected officials, and grazing permittees.

During last year’s review of national monuments by the Department of Interior, New Mexico had the most comments submitted per capita of any state.   Nearly ninety eight percent of the comments received for Rio Grande del Norte opposed the executive order and wanted the monument to remain as is. President Trump has not made a final decision on the status of the monument and it remains in jeopardy. New Mexico Wild previously announced that it would take legal action in the event there was any harm done to the monument. 

“The current attempts by the Trump administration to abolish, shrink, and harm our national monuments underscores the unique permanent protections that Wilderness designation affords our most special public lands,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild. “New Mexicans can be proud that the idea of wilderness protection was born here long ago and lives on today. On behalf of our thousands of members and supporters, we express our deep thanks and appreciation to Congressman Lujan for this gift to our future.”

The proposed wilderness areas within the national monument serve as one of the world’s great avian migratory routes. It is also home to wildlife, including bear, pronghorn and elk. The legislation would also safeguard world-class recreation opportunities already enjoyed within the national monument, such as hiking, hunting, and fishing.

The two proposed wil­derness areas in the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act will comprise 21,420 acres of the 243,140-acre national monument northwest of Taos, New Mexico.


2018 Wolf Stamp Contest Results

2018 Wolf Stamp Contest Results

This year's New Mexico Wild Wolf Stamp competition once again drew amazing entries from artists who depicted this beloved endangered animal in various media ranging from paint to photography. The winning artist is Lobo Reincarnated Artist Nayana, who currently lives in Australia and was inspired to paint the Mexican gray wolf during a visit to New Mexico. Thanks to all the talented artists who made this year's selection a difficult task indeed! Wolf Stamps go on sale soon.