TAOS – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan is joining the effort to preserve a large swath of public land in northern New Mexico.
The New Mexico Democrat has introduced legislation in the House that is a companion measure to a bill introduced last year by Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall. The legislation would set aside nearly 370 square miles as the Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area.
The area includes the Rio San Antonio Wilderness and Ute Mountain as well as other public lands between Taos and Rio Arriba counties and the Carson National Forest.
Lujan says establishing a conservation area would help preserve the land as well as culture and tradition.
Lujan’s office says access to the land for grazing and the harvesting of pinon nuts, wild herbs and firewood would be protected.