Near Santa Fe: sacred lands and a vibrant ecological zone now at risk.
Protect the Caja del Rio
If the plans for a highway, utility lines and the country’s highest bridge come to pass, the Caja del Rio will be drastically altered. The 107,068 acres on this plateau are managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. These are sacred lands for the area’s pueblos.Caja del Rio is principally piñon-juniper savanna and grassland, with canyons plunging into the Santa Fe River and other tributaries of the Rio Grande. The land is dotted with cinder cones and features a dramatic basalt escarpment rich with petroglyphs. Caja is one of the most ecologically rich wildlife corridors in New Mexico. It provides vital habitat for a diverse range of plants and animals. The Caja is one of the last great opportunities to protect the West as it has existed for thousands of years.
The history of the American West exists on this plateau in all of its complexity. It remains a spiritual place for many of the nearby pueblos, and its importance to those communities cannot be overstated. We must do all we can to save this remarkable landscape for people today, but also for the generations ahead.
Add your comments to Federal officials. Visit the Caja del Rio Action Center.
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The history of the American West exists on this plateau in all of its complexity
We are working with pueblos and local communities to determine the most appropriate combination of administrative and legislative designations. One such designation is a National Conservation Area (NCA), which is designated by Congress to conserve, protect, enhance, and manage public land areas for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. NCAs feature exceptional natural, recreational, cultural, wildlife, aquatic, archaeological, paleontological, historical, educational, and/or scientific resources. We also believe that parts of the Caja plateau would be eligible for Wilderness designation and are exploring the possibility of Wild and Scenic River status for the area as well.
Pueblo Leaders Pass Resolution Recognizing Caja del Rio as Traditional Puebloan Landscape
On November 29, 2021, the All Pueblo Council of Governors passed a resolution recognizing the Caja del Rio Plateau as a traditional puebloan landscape, and supporting its long-term preservation. The resolution also addresses the history of inadequate consultation between the federal government and tribes, and commits APCG to working with the Department of the Interior and other key stakeholders to ensure the landscape's conservation. The resolution is a major step forward in efforts to protect Caja del Rio and its cultural significance.