Friday, April 05, 2013

Advocates gather near Taos to celebrate Río Grande del Norte

Hundreds of supporters packed Taos Mesa Brewing on a sunny Saturday (March 30) for a visit from federal dignitaries to celebrate the new Río Grande del Norte National Monument. Outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, retired U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, and Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, were among those in attendance, and they were joined by a celebratory crowd that included conservationists, government leaders and business representatives. The event, which featured food, music and speeches, was held to commemorate the March 25 signing of a presidential proclamation creating the 242,555-acre Río Grande del Norte National Monument. Addressing the standing-room-only crowd, Bingaman, who introduced legislation to create a national conservation area around the Río Grande del Norte, thanked the people of Taos County and Northern New Mexico, saying without their enthusiastic support the monument designation would not have happened. He also suggested the day be recognized as “Ken Salazar Appreciation Day” for the secretary’s efforts. Heinrich said the Río Grande del Norte provides a “textbook example” of what can be accomplished with broad, effective community support. He said the monument designation can serve as a lesson to other communities throughout the country. Salazar said representatives like Bingaman are able to bring people together, adding that his love of the state and decades spent problem-solving on behalf of his constituents “forever make him part of the landscape of New Mexico.”...more

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