Following President Barack Obama's signing of the Río Grande del Norte National Monument proclamation in the Oval Office Monday (March 25), U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and a group of local supporters celebrated the historic designation with the local community in Taos.
“The National Monument proclamation for the Río Grande del Norte was achieved through strong community support and the tireless efforts of many,” said Udall in a prepared statement. “Our celebration will reach from the Oval Office to Northern New Mexico, where communities will see the economic benefits of the monument and the beautiful land will now be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Udall was joined by members of the Río Grande del Norte Coalition, local elected officials, Taos Pueblo leaders, local business leaders, members of the community and others who have been instrumental in advocating for permanent protection of the area.
In 2007, now-retired Sen. Jeff Bingaman began working with residents of Taos and Rio Arriba Counties to identify how to best protect the land. Since then, Bingaman, Sens. Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Rep. Ben Ray Luján have worked to advance legislation through Congress to protect the area and asked the White House to consider a monument designation.
The Bureau of Land Management, under the direction of the Department of the Interior, currently manages the 240,000 acres in Northern New Mexico.
For more information about the national monument designation, read Thursday's (March 28) edition of The Taos News.