Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Challenge To The Santa Fe New Mexican

This is an editorial from 12/18 Santa Fe New Mexican

Worthy of preservation

    News that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was in Taos last Saturday to hear comments about how best to preserve the Rio Grande del Norte is sending hearts aflutter across Northern New Mexico. Traditionally, before land is set aside, a last, listening meeting takes place, meaning (cross your fingers) that before the end of 2012, the designation of the Rio Grande del Norte as deserving special protection will happen.
    This status would protect some of Northern New Mexico’s most precious outdoors areas, whether for hunting, fishing, rafting, wood cutting, grazing or plain ol’ enjoying. A dream of a wide variety of norteños, this designation — some 236,00 acres of public land northwest of Taos — also is a fitting tribute to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate. Indian, Hispanic and Anglo peoples of the north, outdoorsmen and conservationists, business owners and environmentalists all have worked together to show the benefits of preserving the area, which contains parts of the Rio Grande Gorge, Ute Mountain and the Taos Plateau; in other words, some of the most spectacular and wild places in New Mexico.
    Because the current Congress has been so reluctant to preserve wilderness — this session likely will be the first since 1966 where lawmakers fail to set aside new areas for protection — it could fall to President Barack Obama to use his executive powers instead. Under the Antiquities Act, the president can designate this important recreational and wildlife area as a national monument. Instead of the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area, we could have the Rio Grande del Norte Monument. Either works.
    We urge the president to follow in the footsteps of conservation pioneer President Teddy Roosevelt, and even President Richard Nixon, both of whom knew the value of the wild. It was Roosevelt who started the practice of setting aside land so the wild core of this nation would not be lost. Nixon was the president who returned the sacred Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo — a victory both for the rights of indigenous peoples and for the land itself. Today, more than ever, this country must preserve the wild, safeguard our water and protect people’s access to nature. Creating the Rio Grande del Norte Monument is in the best tradition of our nation and in the best interests of New Mexico.

The Challenge:  The editors should pay for a study to establish a baseline for "hunting, fishing, rafting, wood cutting, grazing" prior to Monument status, then go back in at 10 and 20 years to see what has really happened to the access granted to the "Indian, Hispanic and Anglo peoples of the north."  

Unmentioned is the fact that in January of this year northern NM Hispanics sued the Forest Service over the way they've been treated by the feds.



Anonymous said...

Preserving Lava rocks, sagebrush and a few mule deer at a huge and continuing expense to the taxpayer. We can ill afford more of this waste and expense by our "government".

Miles Mason said...

Let's not be too surprised that mainstream press outlets in the West have basically become propagandists for the environmental movement. We need to make them obsolete through new media.