A Resolution Supporting The Permanent Preservation of The Caja Cultural Landscape and Wildlife Area
WHEREAS, the Outdoor Industry Association indicates that in 2021 the Outdoor Recreation Economy accounted for 1.9% of the nation ‘ s GDP and generated 4.5 million jobs; and ‘
WHEREAS , according to the New Mexico Economic Development Department , the Outdoor Recreation Industty in 2021 is responsible for 2.1% of the State’s GDP and $1.2B in wages and salaries; and 1
WHEREAS, Headwater Economics indicates that at least 65% of New Mexico residents participate in outdoor recreation each year; and3
WHEREAS, Santa Fe County has an ideal climate for year-round outdoor activ ities; and
WHEREAS, Ecotourism and outdoor recreation is an important growth area for Santa Fe County ; and
WHEREAS, promoting Santa Fe County as a recreational destination for young people and families could supp le ment the traditional arts-based tourism associated with an older populat io n; and
WHEREAS, Santa Fe County has an incredible array of public lands that encompass a stunning wea l th of landscapes that are enjoyed by residents and non-resident s alike; and
WHEREAS, the Caja de! Rio is lo cated on I 06,883 acres of Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service public lands in north-central New Mexico and it is considered one of the United States ‘ most ic o n i c la nds capes, an area of profound cultural, historical, arche ologic al and ecological significance ; and
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio is a landscape of dramatic topography with geological processes that stem from the
Rio Grande rift and that has boundaries stretc h i ng from the northwestern boundary of the Rio Grande to the southern and western boundaries of the La Bajada escarpment, Santa Fe Ri ver, and Canada Ancha; and
WHEREAS, the Caja de! Rio contains two dynamic watersheds – the Santa Fe River Canyon and the Rio Grande corridor from Buckman to Cochiti Lake – and both watersheds have critical cultural, hydrological, e cologic al, ag1i c ultural, and economic significance; and
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio is one of the most remarkable natural landscapes in the American Southwest with cactus forests, birds ranging from burrowing owls to bald eagles, herds of deer and elk, black bears, and cougars; and
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio has been a critica l habitat to wildlife for millennia and a wide vaiiety of bird and animal species continue to use the area as a migratory corridor, breeding grounds, and an area of relocation dilling wildfires and changing climates; and
WHEREAS, in connecting various mountain ranges and wil dlife habitats, the Caja del Rio acts as a cornerstone for wildlife connectivity and is essential for maintaining wildlife movement throughout the Upper Rio Grande; and
WHEREAS, preserving the Caja del Rio is critical for sustaining the City’ s rich and diverse cul tures, trad itions, heritage, and the vibrant community we are blessed to collectively share; and
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio plateau has been inhabited by native and Indigenous communities since time immemo1ial and,
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio is recognized by various Pueblos’ traditional le adership as a significant region of cult ural properties where Pueblo ancestors-built housing structures, ceremonial kivas, roads, inigation infrastructure, petroglyphs and other cultural artifacts; and
WHEREAS, the Pueblos maintain an ongoing connection and use of the Caja dcl Rio landscape and its cu l tural resources, and sacred sites through story, song, pilg rimage , and prayer, and preserving the land scape is c1i tic al for ongoing cultural religious access and use; and
WHEREAS, the Caja de] Rio also is the key landscape demarcation between what the Spanish colonial world termed the “Rio Abaja” and “Rio Arriba” regions ofNew Mexico , where the people of Santa Fe’s traditional Hisp ano vi llages maintain deep ties and living roots as “Ejido” (communal) through perpetuation and practice of traditional uses of flora and fauna and by pilgrimage and prayer; and
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio Hispano communities, including Jacona, Agua Fria, La Cieneguilla, La Cie nega, La
Bajada and Santa Fe’s Souths ide remain deeply connected to the Caja del Rio and act as li vi ng repositories of traditional eco lo gic al and cultural knowledge of the area; and
WHEREAS, the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of traditional livestock production on the Caja de! Rio plateau and suppmts continued responsible range management ac, has been conducted through the cooperation of cattle growers and livestock pennittees, traditional merced and acequia communities as political subdivisions of New Mexico, and federal agencies; and
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio is still used by the Pueblo Nations and traditional Hispano commwuties to exercise traditional land use values including the following; hun tin g, fishing, grazing, wood gathering, pinion harvesting, herb and plant gathering , sacred pilgrimage and the historic community use of the land in other traditional ways ; and
WHEREAS, the Caja de] Rio als o contai ns a major and historically significant travel corridor along the National historic Trail of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, an important trade route that according to the Nationa l Park Service ran from Mexico City to the Pueblo ofOhkay Owingeh, New Mexic o from 1598 to 1 881 ; and
WHEREAS, various petroglyphs and archeological sites found along El Canuno Real de Tiena Adentro and throughout the Caja de! Rio speak to the arrival, presence, history, culture and influence of the Spanish in the area; and
WHEREAS, residents and spiritual leaders throughout the Santa Fe and the United States recognize the sacred value of the Caja del Rio and utilize the area as a place of prayer, silence, solitude. worship and sacred pilgrimage; and
WHEREAS, in the early 19 00s, the main travel corridor of El Camino Real de Tie1Ta Adentro along the Caja del Rio transformed to become famous for its ico nic stretches ofNew Mexic o Hig hway 1 and ultimately Route 66; and
WHEREAS, the Caja de] Rio also serves as a critical landscape in creating a hist oric al, cul tural, e colo gic al, and eco tourism corridor, connecting Bandelier National Monument and the adjacent sites ofKasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, El Rancho de Las Golondr inas and the Leo nora Curti n Wetland Prese rve; and
WHEREAS, the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance has listed the Caja del Rio as on the ” most endangered places” in New Mexico; and
WHEREAS, the federal agencies with jurisdiction over the area have provided insufficient management and resources to patrol, monitor and protect the many antiquities within the Caja del Rio; and
WHEREAS, Pueblo Nations with a deep connection to the Caja del Ri o would like for the federal government to provide the protections needed to preserve and protect traditional Native sacred sites as well as maintain Pueblo access and co-stewardship of these sites; and
WHEREAS, the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce believes the Caja de] Rio should become an important
experien tial le arning “classroom” for the area’s surrounding youth and a place to teach chi ldren the cultural, ilis tori.c al, ec ological, geological, hydrological and biological aspects of this re markable landscape; and
WHEREAS, portions of the Caja de! Rio have tremendous potential for sustai nab le outdoor recreati on to create the jobs and enhance local economies, so long as these regulated activities do not adversely impact the cultural, hydrological and ecological resources of the landscape; and
WHEREAS, the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce beli eves that access to the Caja del Rio and sun-oundin g protected public lands and the other outdoor recreation opportunities give lo cal busines ses an advantage over other states when attracting and retaining talent; and
WHEREAS, access to the Caja del Rio and surrounding protected publi c lands and outdoor recrea tio n opp01tw1 i tie s support healthy commun ities of which local busi ness is th e backbone. Studies show that access to the outdoors supports reduced crime rates, improves educat ional outco mes, and imp roves physical and mental health; and 4
WHERAS, a healthy workforce improves the economy and according to the Centers for Disease control, physical inactivity costs the nation $11 7B a year for related heal thcare; and5
WHEREAS, the permanent protection of the Caja del Rio will he lp New Mexico reach the 30 by 30 goa ls of the America the Beautiful initiative and New Mexico’s 30 by 30 Executiv e Order No. 2021-52, focused on protecting biodiversity and conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030; and
WHEREAS, the Caja del Rio protection efforts are locally driven and led, characterized by community collaboration that supports priorities of Tribal Natio ns, w h il e also engaging other local stake ho ld ers; and
WHEREAS, the All Pueblo Council of Gove rnors , the C ity of Santa Fe and Santa Fe Coun ty have all approved resolutions supporting the permanent protection of the Caja del Rio.
NOW, THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SANTA FE GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, that the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce supports the permanent protection, long term preservation and responsible stewardship oftbe Caja de! Rio landscape through an appropriate federal
4 http s: //edd.newmexico.gov/wp-cont ent/uploads/2021 /06/20HE NM Outdoor Rec Report R3 BP web- 1 . pdf
5 Hea lth and Economic Costs of Chronic Diseases l CDC land use designation.
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce supports the collaboration, co management , and co-stewardship of the Caja del Rio among responsible federal agencies, the local governments of traditional Hispano communities, and sovereign Tribal Nations for the protection and preservation of this precious natural and cultural landscape.
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce supports all efforts to empower Pueblo Nations and traditional Hispano communities in performing meaningful cultural interpretation, environmental education and historical preservation of the treasured landscape .
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce supports co-stewardship and responsible management of wildlife and the wild environs of the Caja de! Rio Plateau, for the benefit of the public today, and for future generations .
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce supports the continuation and sustainment of traditional uses of the Caja del Rio including the following; hunting, fishing, grazing, wood gathering, pinion harvesting, herb and plant gathering, sacred pilgrimage, and the historic community use of the land in other traditional ways.
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