New Mexico flowers.
March 22, 2012 § 2 Comments
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“Just south of the Colorado line, Ute Mountain rises to an elevation of 10,093 feet, dominating the New Mexico landscape. Surrounded by plains of wild sagebrush, this former volcano stands out as an iconic landmark. To the west, the Rio Grande has carved a 200-foot-deep, 150-foot-wide canyon, creating the stunning cliffs of the Rio Grande Gorge.
Located 28 miles north of Taos, N.M., the dry plains along the Rio Grande are home to eagles, hawks, bears, cougars, elk, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. The area is also important for many species of birds. It’s a major stop on the Rio Grande Migratory Flyway, and the cliffs of the gorge are a key nesting spot for raptors. In addition to the rich wildlife of the area, the plant life ranges from piñon, white pine, and Douglas fir covering Ute’s slopes to the blue grama and western wheatgrass of the plains.
Ute Mountain and the Rio Grande Gorge comprise a breathtaking landscape and a large diversity of habitats that would be permanently protected under the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act (S. 667), introduced in March 2011 by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). Reps. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced a companion measure (H.R. 1241). This legislation, which would establish a 236,000-acre national conservation area and designate two new wilderness areas (Cerro del Yuta and Rio San Antonio) totaling about 21,000 acres, was the result of years of collaboration among local stakeholders and New Mexicans statewide. The measure would ensure that these special places are protected for all time for New Mexicans and others to enjoy, while guaranteeing the continuation of traditional activities such as gathering firewood and piñon nuts.”]