State benefits from protecting public lands

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With its proximity to Bandelier National Monument, the great potential of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the Jemez National Recreation Area, and adjacent National Forest lands, the opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism in Los Alamos are unparalleled.
Recently, the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce reported that in 2008 Bandelier drew more than 200,000 visitors, accounting for $9.3 million in spending and directly supporting 181 jobs. The recent Caldera Action report underscored the local economic benefit of expanded visitation that would attend National Park Service Management of the Valles Caldera. These reports demonstrate that protecting public lands is not just about preserving habitat and sacred cultural treasures; it’s about creating sustainable jobs and attracting visitors to rural New Mexico’s communities.
But the economic promise of our protected lands is at risk.
Conservation laws that protect clean air and water, wildlife and natural areas face unprecedented assaults. While every Congress in recent memory has taken steps to protect our public lands and our ability to hunt, hike, fish, and get outside, some Washington politicians are now focused on undoing our country’s rich outdoor heritage. Sadly, the protection of public lands for future generations has become a political issue.

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