The Rio Grande del Norte New Mexico area is one of the oldest continually habited landscapes on the North American continent. This cultural history isn’t the only reason why so many New Mexico residents took an interest in conserving the area. Also of note is the area’s natural beauty and its array of wildlife. The beauty of the land has long encouraged outdoor recreation among visitors, with popular pursuits including hiking, mountain biking, rafting, rock climbing, and camping. In reference to wildlife, the Rio Grande del Norte New Mexico area is home to bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, elk, deer, cougars, bobcats, beavers, waterfowl, and a number of other animals. No discussion about the area would be complete without also mentioning its role as a water source. Rio Grande del Norte is a critical watershed for the region, supplying water for much of the state and the surrounding areas.
Because of its overall importance, the Rio Grande del Norte New Mexico area was designated as a National Monument on March 25, 2013. This means that its 242,500 acres of public land will be safeguarded for the foreseeable future. It also means that an increase in tourism is likely, as is a boost for the local economy. For those who are interested in visiting the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, it is located in north-central New Mexico within the counties of Taos and Rio Arriba.