Rio Grande del Norte National Monument Celebrates First Anniversary

Article by Don Laine, photo courtesy of BLM

Rio Grande WSR
Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River north of Taos, NM

Those who attended the 2012 RMOWP conference in Taos, New Mexico will remember the picnic along the Rio Grande and the hike with Bureau of Land Management ranger Randy Roch. Some conference attendees also took time out to fish the Rio Grande. That area along the river was then called the Orilla Verde Recreation Area. But that was then and this is now.

On March 25, 2013, President Barak Obama signed a Presidential Proclamation designating the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, which includes the Río Grande Wild and Scenic River and what is now called the Río Grande Gorge Recreation Area. The monument, which covers over 240,000 acres in north-central New Mexico, is being managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

BLM officials tell us that this special area has renowned trout fishing, abundant wildlife including Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and world-class whitewater rafting. It’s also visually arresting – the gorge is up to 800 feet deep and a mile wide in places. Hiking trails offer access to favorite fishing sites, prehistoric rock art, and stunning views.

There are two visitor centers – the Río Grande Gorge Visitor Center in Pilar (south of Taos) is open year-round; the Wild Rivers Visitor Center (north of Questa) is open May through September.

From mid-April through September, the BLM will offer guided hikes with local experts, BLM resource staff, and BLM rangers. A schedule of events will be posted on the monument’s website:

The Río Grande del Norte is New Mexico’s newest and largest national monument, and the BLM invites members of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers & Photographers to enjoy the opportunities that are available. For more information or to arrange tours for writer/photographer pros, contact the BLM’s Taos Field Office at 575-758-8851.