Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Recognize the Rio Grande Del Norte as a national monument, ensuring government protection of the land.
Many of the United States’ quintessential national landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens, and the Sequoia National Forest, are protected by their government designation as national monuments. The Rio Grande Del Norte, a 236,000 acre area in New Mexico, is a natural landscape that would benefit from being granted status as a national monument. Urge President Obama to protect this unique, beautiful, and important area of the American west by designating it a national monument.
The Rio Grande Del Norte encompasses the Rio Grande Gorge and Taos Plateau. The Rio Grande Gorge was named part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System by Congress in 1968, and the area is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including 500-year-old trees. The region has significant historical value as well, particularly in the form of petroglyphs and ruins. The Taos Plateau is “the second-largest volcanic field in the Rio Grande Rift,” and the Rio Grande Gorge has left layers of ancient hardened lava visibly exposed.
The Rio Grande del Norte has also been “at the heart of one of the oldest continually habituated landscapes on the continent.” Its long history has made it the subject of a fierce defense by grassroots activists in recent years. Advocates for the Rio Grande del Norte point out that its landscape is “iconic” of the American west and that it can support a variety of outdoor recreational activities. What it cannot and should not support, however, are commercial development projects.
Sign the petition and urge President Obama to protect America’s natural heritage.
Dear President Obama,
Over the years, many United States presidents have established legacies of protecting America’s natural landscapes. The designations of Fort Ord and Fort Monroe as national monuments have already been positive steps forward for the Obama administration in terms of preserving natural treasures, but there is more work to be done. I urge you to add the Rio Grande del Norte to the list of national monuments.
The Rio Grande del Norte area comprises the Rio Grande Gorge as well as the Taos Plateau. Both regions are home to unique geological attractions, and the Rio Grande Gorge in particular plays host to a wide variety of plant and animal wildlife, including forests of 500-year-old trees. The area is also rich in archaeological and historical treasures, including ancient petroglyphs and ruins, and can easily support numerous outdoor recreational activities.
The Rio Grande del Norte is the quintessential image of the American west. For better or for worse, a large portion of United States history hinges on the American west and how it was perceived by outsiders. The Rio Grande del Norte region should stand as a reminder of United States history–good and bad, natural and human-influenced. Do not allow this valuable part of our country to be overrun or threatened by commercial development: designate the Rio Grande del Norte a national monument.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: laszlo-photo via Flickr