New Mexico Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall are asking President Obama to designate the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos and the Organ Mountains in southern New Mexico as national monuments.
The senators, who are sponsors of legislation that would elevate the sites to national conservation and wilderness areas, wrote a letter to Obama asking him to use his authority to establish the sites as National Monuments because a congressional logjam has made it difficult to pass their bill.
They say National Monument status would protect the lands and their wildlife habitat while preserving existing uses such as hunting, fishing, and grazing. Other National Monuments in the state include Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, Gila Cliff Dwellings, and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks.