Press Release

Lands within New Mexico national monument could see added protections

Cerro de la Olla

Cerro de la Olla, NM

Photo courtesy of Stuart Wilde

A bill introduced in Congress complements efforts in the Senate to protect Cerro de la Olla

Legislation to establish Cerro de la Olla Wilderness within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico has now been introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Ben Ray Luján and Rep. Deb Haaland, moving Congress one step closer to ensuring this proposed wilderness area is protected in a way that preserves traditional uses and provides sanctuary to a wide range of wildlife. 

In January of 2020, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and U.S. Senator Tom Udall introduced similar legislation in the Senate. That bill received a hearing in September.   

For hundreds of years, people of the Taos area have hunted, gathered herbs, and collected firewood on the flanks of Cerro de la Olla. Migrating wildlife also spend their winters in this region making it critical for migration now and into the future.  

The following statement is from Michael Casaus, New Mexico State Director:

“The Río Grande del Norte National Monument is home to some of New Mexico’s wildest lands that serve as a critical sanctuary and corridor for wildlife migration in the northern part of the state. Cerro de la Olla needs these added protections to ensure the solitude, scenic vistas, and unspoiled lands are properly taken care of for future generations.

"Representatives Luján and Haaland, along with our senators, have heard the call and recognize the need to do all we can to protect our last remaining wilderness areas. At a time when our country is so divided, it’s been heartening to see the local community come together to protect a place that carries such deep historical, environmental, recreational and cultural importance.”