ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Some members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are renewing a push to protect more than 240,000 acres of federal land in northern New Mexico.
U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan have reintroduced legislation that would establish the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area.
Efforts to conserve the area — including stretches of the Rio Grande Gorge and Ute Mountain — have been ongoing since 2009. Last October, members of the delegation sent letters to President Barack Obama asking that he consider designating the area for national monument status.
Supporters say the area is historically and culturally significant and offers recreational opportunities that include hunting and fishing.
Lujan describes it as "one of the crown jewels" of New Mexico.