Nearly 900 Acres of Undeveloped Land to be Added to Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Today, The Trust for Public Land announces acquisition of 852.90 acres of undeveloped land in Taos County, New Mexico, and the conveyance of that land to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

This property will be added to and managed under the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, a landscape of some 242,500 acres rich in natural, cultural, historic, and recreational significance.  This addition to the monument will secure and increase traditional and recreational access to the monument and prevent fragmentation of a vital wildlife corridor that extends into Colorado. 

“Preservation of this rugged, undeveloped landscape will allow generations of New Mexicans to enjoy outdoor recreation while also protecting the region’s history and culture that makes it so special,” said Jim Petterson, VP of the Mountain West Region for The Trust for Public Land.  

This part of the Rio Grande has attracted human activity since prehistoric times. Evidence of ancient use is found throughout the area in the form of petroglyphs, prehistoric dwelling sites, and many other types of archaeological sites. Lying between the San Juan Mountains to the west and Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east, the monument straddles the northern end of the Rio Grande Rift—a 600-mile long tear in the North American continent, which has resulted in most of the geological features you see in the monument. 

This project will secure traditional and recreational access to the monument and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities through improved public access to the interior of the monument. It will also prevent fragmentation of a vital wildlife migration corridor that extends into Colorado and provides critical winter forage area for elk and habitat for Gunnison’s prairie dog (an ESA Candidate Species), loggerhead shrike, and burrowing owl. As many as 10,000 elk winter on the Taos Plateau each year. 

Funding for the purchase was provided by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is the primary source of funding that invests in protecting critical natural resource and outdoor recreation lands from development, enhancing public access for recreation, protecting key wildlife habitat, and conserving land and water resources on federally designated and managed lands. In August 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act, which permanently funds the LWCF at $900 million annually, was signed into law with broad, bipartisan support.  

The Trust for Public Land, along with coalition partners, have created an interactive map showcasing trail, park, and outdoor recreation projects in need of this funding and those that have been completed thanks to LWCF funds. The map shows projects identified by state, local, and non-profit partners as well as projects submitted by federal agencies to Congress as part of the annual budget and appropriations process. 

About The Trust for Public Land 

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit