By Martin Heinrich Press Office
Legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to elevate Bandelier National Monumentin New Mexico to a National Park and Preserve received a key hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks.
“When I talk to people about what makes New Mexico unique, it always comes back to our breathtaking landscapes, our deep and complex history, and our unique cultures. Bandelier National Monument encapsulates each of these in unrivaled ways. It’s long past time that we recognize that Bandelier’s historical and natural resources are more than worthy of national park status,” said Heinrich. “This is, after all, a living cultural landscape. Bandelier’s mesas and canyons have human history that dates back more than 10,000 years. The ancestral sites in Bandelier continue to hold deep cultural and religious significance to the pueblos. Upgrading Bandelier to national park status is the best way to ensure these cultural treasures and northern New Mexico’s history and natural beauty receive the recognition and permanent protection they have long deserved.”
In addition to establishing the Bandelier National Park and Preserve, the bill seeks to protect in statute a strong relationship between the National Park Service and pueblos whose history and culture lies in Bandelier. The bill would establish a tribal commission, which would provide guidance for park management that reflects traditional and historical knowledge and values. In a historic precedent for a national park, traditional knowledge will be required by statute to be considered in land management planning. Additionally, the bill would permanently safeguard tribes’ religious rights and practices in Bandelier.
The legislation has garnered widespread support and endorsements from local communities and tribes throughout northern New Mexico.