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KARY PIERCE /Albuquerque

As a child, I grew up in the Colorado Rockies very close to Chimney Rock outside Pagosa Springs, Colo. Needless to say, when President Obama deemed it worthy of becoming a national monument, I was pleased. 

Those mountains are very special in my heart. I remember the wind whispering in the tall pines, playing in the rocky mountain caves, and crystal fresh waters in the small spring by my home. I was one of the people that wrote and asked the president to protect this land, and he listened.

It’s one thing to be a person that writes to the government about my interests for preserving natural ecosystems, it’s another when someone reaches out to others in a plea to do the same. One such place worthy of this request for care is in New Mexico, the Rio Grande del Norte. It’s a diverse area where people can connect with nature and its beauty.

The Rio Grande del Norte includes the fantastic Rio Grande Gorge, headwaters for the Rio Grande, breathtaking sagebrush plains, and Ute Mountain. It provides a critical wildlife habitat, and has thousands of archeological sites.

The main factors in determining the value of this preservation include clean water, clean air and access to the outdoors for hunting, hiking and other recreational activities. This brings me back to my childhood remembrance and the importance that we have this for future generations. It would be a selfish travesty to risk having these treasures of ecological opportunity taken from them.

There is heartfelt wisdom in protecting special places by creating national monuments on lands and waters that have been protected by the American people taking ownership. I would like this letter to represent a way of sharing to reach more people so they can be aware and advocate to protect that which cannot protect itself from human destruction. All we need to do is let the president know that the Rio Grande del Norte should be designated as a national treasure as well.