Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Preident Obama

Obama creates national monument in NM

NM Delegation applauds creation of Rio Grande del Norte Monument

On March 22, members of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation applauded the decision by President Barack Obama to create a national monument to protect the Rio Grande del Norte in Northern New Mexico.

The Bureau of Land Management, under the direction of the Department of the Interior, currently manages the 240,000 acres of land in Northern New Mexico. The Rio Grande del Norte monument proclamation will be modeled after the delegation’s legislative efforts to protect the area with input from Taos and Rio Arriba County residents.

In 2007, now-retired Senator Jeff Bingaman’s office began working with residents of Taos and Rio Arriba Counties to identify how to best protect the land. Since then, Bingaman, Sens. Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Rep. Ben Ray Luján have worked to advance legislation through Congress to protect the area and asked the White House to consider a monument designation.  

“For more than a century, the Antiquities Act has given American presidents the authority to protect our nation’s most treasured landscapes, and the Rio Grande del Norte is indeed a treasure,” said Heinrich. “My deepest thanks go out to Senator Bingaman and the local community for championing this effort, and to President Obama for recognizing just how special the Rio Grande del Norte is.”

Frescoes protected

On April 21, at 2:00 p.m., Friends of Coronado will present The History and Preservation of the Ma-Pe-Wi Kiva Frescoes at Kuaua, 1934 to Present. Richard Reycraft, Ph.D., Cultural Resource Program Manager, New Mexico State Monuments, and Monument rangers will give a talk encompassing two stories:

  • The original and now preserved historic fresco murals found at the site in 1934, some now on display at the monument;
  • The efforts to preserve and protect the murals recreated in 1938 by renowned Sandoval County artist Velino Shije Herrera (Ma-Pe-Wi), a Zia Pueblo native.

Commencing his talk in the Monument’s video room, Reycraft and visitors will continue the conversation in the original mural room, followed by a trip into the kiva to see, up-close, the ongoing efforts to both clean and preserve Herrera’s frescoes and the kiva structure itself.

Velino Shije Herrera (1902-1973) received no formal art training. In the late 1930s, he taught at the Albuquerque Indian School, and in 1939, he was commissioned by the Department of Interior to paint a series of murals at the department’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. 

Coronado State Monument is at 485 Kuaua Road, Bernalillo, 1.5 miles west of the I-25 exit 242, off Hwy 550. The event is $5 for adults and free for students and members of the Friends of Coronado State Monument. Refreshments will be served. Resevations are unnecessary. For more information, call Gary Williams, program chairman at 792-4851 or visit:

Forests seeks volunteers to plant trees; post Las Conchas fire

—Bruce Hill

The Santa Fe National Forest is seeking volunteers for tree planting efforts within the 2011 Las Conchas fire burn area near Los Alamos. Exact dates are dependent upon weather, soil moistures, and soil temperatures but possible dates are the Fridays and Saturdays of April 12 to 13, and 19 to 20.

A 56-acre area around the Nordic Ski Trails at the base of Pajarito Ski Hill within the burn area will be planted with Douglas Fir trees. The effort is part of a larger planting initiative involving about two-thousand acres and almost half of a million trees. Trees were ordered in the fall of 2011—right after the Las Conchas fire. Local seed stock was germinated in the spring of 2012. The trees are about one year old and ready for planting.

The Forest Service will take volunteer reservations of up to thirty to fifty people each day. Required hard hats will be provided, however volunteers must provide their own boots, gloves, long pants, long sleeve shirts, and safety glasses.

For more information, or to sign up as a volunteer, call the Espanola Ranger District at 753-7331, or email Jennifer Sublett at:


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