Friday, April 15, 2011

New Mexico’s Wild and Scenic Rivers: Part 1, The Rio Grande

National Wild and Scenic River status is a designation made by Congress for the purpose of protecting naturally flowing rivers from development which would substantially change their wild or scenic nature.

Selected rivers in the United States are preserved under this designation for possessing “outstandingly remarkable” scenic, recreational, geologic, historic, or other similar values. Rivers, or sections of rivers, so designated are preserved in their free-flowing condition and are not dammed or otherwise impeded.

New Mexico has four designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, which include the Rio Grande, The Rio Chama, the east fork of the Jemez River, and the Pecos. These rivers flow through some of the most breathtaking landscapes New Mexico has to offer.

The Rio Grande and Red River were among the original eight rivers designated by Congress as Wild and Scenic in 1968. The Rio Grande flows out of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in Colorado, winding its way 1,900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. In Northern New Mexico, the Rio Grande travels through an 800-foot deep canyon of steep volcanic walls (the Rio Grande Rift) better known as the Rio Grande Gorge. Much of the gorge cuts through a wild and remote area of Northern New Mexico. The potential of continued volcanic activity in the gorge is evidenced by the number of hot springs that surface next to the river throughout the canyon.

Recreation opportunities on the Rio Grande in New Mexico include biking, camping, fishing, hiking, whitewater rafting and kayaking, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding. Observant hikers along the banks of the Rio Grande will come upon petroglyphs (ancient Indian rock art) and fossilized dinosaur tracks.

Find out more about New Mexico’s Wild & Scenic Rivers

No comments:

Post a Comment