PHOTO: Retired U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joined President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, at a National Monument Proclamations Signing Ceremony in the Oval Office to establish the Río Grande del Norte in northern New Mexico as a U.S. National Monument. Taos Pueblo War Chief Samuel Gomez and Questa Mayor Esther Garcia were also in attendance. (Official White House Photo, March 25, 2013)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Heinrich made the following statement today after the president signed the Río Grande del Norte National Monument Proclamation:
“Today is an historic day for New Mexico and our nation. President Obama has ensured that the Río Grande del Norte, a symbol of what makes our state truly enchanting, will be preserved as a national monument for generations to come.
“From the tops of Cerro de la Olla and Ute Mountain, to the depths of the Rio Grande Gorge, the Río Grande del Norte is one of the most spectacular places on earth. Our state’s newest national monument will improve the quality of life for all who hunt, fish and float there, for all who benefit from the tourism dollars it brings, and for all who pass on New Mexico’s many outdoor traditions--both old and new--to their children in such a magnificent setting.
“As Teddy Roosevelt put it in 1912, ‘We do not intend that our natural resources shall be exploited by the few against the interests of the many … for our aim is to preserve our natural resources for the public as a whole, for the average man and the average woman who make up the body of the American people.’
“This historic monument designation would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our local community, businesses, sportsmen, tribes, elected officials, and many others who have dedicated years of hard work to protect this area. I want to give particular thanks to Jeff Bingaman for championing this effort, to my friends and colleagues Ken Salazar, Tom Udall and Ben Ray Lujan, and to President Obama for recognizing just how special the Río Grande del Norte is.
“Let us revel in this moment and continue to heed the call of building a brighter future together for all New Mexicans.”