Protect Albuquerque’s Woodlands

Target: Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry

Goal: Protect the Rio Grande Bosque from development plans.

The scientific definition of a bosque is an area of forest found upon the flood plains of a stream or river bank. This undersells the value of these ribbons of woodland life which cut through arid regions like the southwestern United States. The most well regarded of these would be the Rio Grande Bosque, which extends along a 200 mile stretch near Albuquerque, New Mexico. This natural treasure is consistently listed as one of the top benefits of living in the Albuquerque area, second just behind sunshine. It is a natural habitat to hundreds of species, including ones as notable as the bald eagle. It has consequently led to the city’s status as the top urban destination for nature lovers.

The bosque is now being put at risk by new plans for development and construction. Any development here would threaten the entirety of the region’s fragile ecosystem. The project, entitled the “Rio Grande Vision”, would destroy one of the country’s great ecological wonders in exchange for laying infrastructure. This infrastructure would likely drive away the very tourist dollars the city is attempting to encourage. The Rio Grande Bosque is an attraction because of its untouched beauty, not because of paved trails, observations towers, restaurants, or lodgings.

The environmental impact of a development plan for the Rio Grande Bosque is too harmful. Far too many of the nation’s natural wonders have been paved through to make them into natural amusement parks, rife for exploitation rather than protection. This must end. The Rio Grande Bosque must be allowed to remain an undamaged wilderness.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Berry,

Many of our nation’s ecological treasures have fallen victim to commercial interests. Some are entirely destroyed in favor of corporate development occupying the space they once held, while others are blasted apart to extract natural resources and then abandoned to become a wasteland. Developing infrastructure around the existing habitat may be a more subtle form of this commercial destruction, but it is no less egregious. The plans for the Rio Grande Bosque unfortunately fall under this category.

The Rio Grande Bosque is the most well known example of its environmental form. A 200 mile-long stretch of lush woodland within the arid Albuquerque area it is one of the primary appeals of the city itself, ranked just behind sunshine as the top benefit of living in the city. The habitat provides a home to hundreds of species, including the nation’s iconic bald eagle. The unique natural beauty and varied wildlife of the bosque have given the city itself the status of top urban destination for nature lovers. These visitors seek pristine wilderness, not a series of paved walkways looking out at what remains of the Rio Grande Bosque.

The premise of the “Rio Grande Vision”—seeking increased tourism and economic growth—is ludicrous when the unfettered and natural state of the Rio Grande Bosque is the principal attraction for the city’s tourist revenue. It is quite likely the city may actually lose revenue as nature lovers seek out other locales that have been allowed to remain predominantly untouched. Because of this it makes both economic and ecological sense to allow the Rio Grande Bosque to remain undeveloped.

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org

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