April 26, 2023
To Whom It May Concern,
We’re writing to express the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce’s support for permanent protection of the Caja del Rio Plateau in Santa Fe County.
The mission of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce is to strengthen the local Santa Fe economy while serving as a voice for the business community. Since its inception in 1882, the Chamber has helped turn Santa Fe into one of the best places in the country to live, work, and explore. Protecting the health and safety of our landscape is important to our economy and our communities, and we see the Caja del Rio as a crucial part of our long-term efforts to help Santa Fe thrive.
As an organization focused on local economic impacts, we know land conservation is good business. Statewide, the outdoor recreation economy directly supports $1.2 billion in generated revenue for New Mexico in addition to providing 33,500 jobs. The tourism industry generates millions of dollars for the Santa Fe area each year, with outdoor recreation being a top draw for visitors. Sportsmen and sportswomen, equestrians, mountain bikers, hikers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts all come to Santa Fe for our picturesque mountains and vast, open landscapes.
The Caja del Rio is one of the most ecologically rich and culturally significant landscapes in New Mexico. Preserving the Caja is especially important to underserved communities like Santa Fe’s Southside, which is directly adjacent to lands within the Caja. We strongly believe these communities deserve equal access to outdoor spaces like the Caja. Designating the area with federal protection would ensure equitable access and the ability to recreate on lands in their own backyard safely and securely.
Achieving protected status for this culturally rich area while preserving traditional uses and public access will ensure that the historic connection between various communities and the landscape will remain intact.
On behalf of the 800 members of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, we fully support the efforts to protect the Caja del Rio Plateau and hope to see this effort successful in the near future.
Bridget Dixson, IOM
President and CEO
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce