New Mexico Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representative Lujan have reintroduced legislation to add the Columbine-Hondo area in northern New Mexico to the Federal Wilderness system. The proposal will create a 45,000-acre wilderness adjacent to the present Wheeler Peak Wilderness in the Carson National Forest north Of Taos. You can access a map of the area here.
The Columbine-Hondo was designated a Federal Wilderness Study Area in 1980. Conservationists, outdoor organizations, and many others have advocated for its transfer to the Federal Wilderness system since that time, but for one reason or another it never happened. Now a bill to create the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness has been introduced that has strong support from Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representatives Lujan and Lujan-Grisham, as well as local governments in Taos County, Taos Pueblo, the Taos Chamber of Commerce, and many other organizations and individuals. A summary of the legislation can be found here.
New Mexico Trout members should be particularly interested in this legislation because the area includes the headwaters of the Rio Hondo and Red River, which have populations of native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Your Board of Directors has voted to endorse this legislation to create the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness and to add our name to those the many other organizations that are supporting it. I’m sure that members of our congressional delegation would appreciate hearing of your individual support when they are home during the upcoming August recess.