FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: City of Santa Fe Passes Resolution in Support of Permanently Protecting the Caja del Rio
June 29, 2022
SANTA FE - The City of Santa Fe Governing Body voted unanimously today to pass a resolution that supports permanent protection of the Caja del Rio plateau, an approximately 107,000 acre parcel of public land west of Santa Fe that is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service and State Land Office.
“The national prominence of this landscape cannot be overstated,” said Councilwoman Renee Villarreal, the lead sponsor of the resolution. “The Caja del Rio has the most potent combination of cultural history and critical wildlife habitat in the entire country. The petroglyphs and cultural sites are unmatched, and its wildlife corridor connects critical habitats across the state. The Caja del Rio is also a place of spiritual connection and importance, to Pueblo peoples since time immemorial, to Spanish settlers going back more than 13 generations, and more recently has importance to conservationists, environmentalists, sportspeople, outdoor enthusiasts and even spiritual leaders. It is of utmost importance that we formalize our support for permanent, cohesive protection of the Caja del Rio in order to safeguard its protection and enjoyment of future generations.”
With the passage of this resolution, the City of Santa Fe joins the All Pueblo Council of Governors, the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, and the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners, all which have passed similar resolutions in support of enhancing protection for Caja del Rio plateau.
Reverend Andrew Black, minister at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, founder of EarthKeepers 360, and National Wildlife Federation Public Lands Field Director said, “The Caja del Rio coalition appreciates this important step taken by the Santa Fe City Council and we are grateful to Councilors Villarreal and Rivera for their leadership in sponsoring this important resolution. The Caja tells the vibrant story of the American Southwest and shows the interconnectedness of all of us who live in the Land of Enchantment. It’s a sacred place that reminds us of our common humanity and the important role we have as responsible stewards of this incredible landscape. Protecting the Caja ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy our abundant wildlife, rich historical and cultural traditions, and responsible recreation on this cherished landscape.”
In addition to the millennia-old petroglyphs and cultural artifacts, the landscape is currently a place of sacred import to surrounding Indigenous communities.
“Caja del Rio is a sacred ceremonial power point area for Pecos Eagle Clan and now for Pueblo of Jemez,” said Joseph “Brophy” Toledo, cultural advisor and spiritual leader from Jemez Pueblo. “The connection to Caja land is so special that the memory has a strong bond to the holistic process of ceremony. Earth people, the four-legged, winged, finned micro invertebrates, and pollinators create that beauty for emergence. The area and its wildlife deserve our protection.”
Former City of Santa Fe Councilor, Carmichael Dominguez, has been involved with the Caja del Rio coalition. “The Caja is a place of journey, through time and space, and it connects us to wildlife and to each other. The district I used to represent sits right next to the Caja and the Caja provides important access to public lands and opportunities for cultural education and outdoor recreation to Southside youth and families. I am grateful this resolution recognizes how important the Caja is to our community and the broader region.”
To learn more about the history and importance of the Caja del Rio plateau, visit cajadelrio.org.