Community Leaders and Conservationists Applaud President Obama’s Designation of Five New National Monuments

Press Release – Community Leaders and Conservationists Applaud President Obama’s Planned Designation of Five New National Monuments

President’s action will expand our National Conservation Lands and boost local economies

© Adriel Heisey

Rio Grande with Ute Mountain © Adriel Heisey

Durango, CO (March 22, 2013) – Conservation and community leaders are celebrating President Barack Obama’s commitment to designate five new national monuments in New Mexico, Washington, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware. These national monuments will permanently protect a diversity of lands and waters that honor our country’s heritage and conserve open space important for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation.

“President Obama has taken an important step in protecting America’s outdoor heritage and honoring our nation’s history,” said Brian O’Donnell, Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “These designations came in response to locally-driven efforts and we are grateful for President Obama’s leadership in advancing conservation at a time when it’s desperately needed.”

Patos Island in the San Juan Islands

Patos Island in the San Juan Islands

Two of these designations – the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico and the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington – will become part of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands. These national monuments will benefit the local economies, protect important wildlife habitat and ensure that future generations will continue to experience America’s great outdoor heritage.

Local communities have long sought to protect these areas but their efforts had been frustrated by congressional gridlock. In fact, the 112th Congress became the first Congress since World War II to fail to protect a single new acre of public land as a park, monument or wilderness area.

“Today’s report of the designation of Rio Grande del Norte as a National Monument is a result of the commitment and passion of our people for this landscape we call home. For years, our community of sportsmen, ranchers, small business owners and other citizens across northern New Mexico has worked collaboratively with our members of Congress to protect it. Now we can rest assured that Rio Grande del Norte’s majesty will be preserved for generations to come,” commented Taos Mayor Darren Córdova.

“The San Juan Islands National Monument will honor the hundreds of volunteers who have helped the BLM maintain these lands,” said San Juan County Council Chair and Lopez Island resident Jamie Stephens. “The communities in these islands now look forward to working with the Bureau of Land Management to develop and carry out a management plan that protects these valuable natural and cultural sites.”

Photos and additional background materials available at and


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