from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Whether it's a tourist spending a night near one of the state's many national monuments or spending money at local businesses, the value of these special places, established by the federal Antiquities Act, adds up to $54 million a year for rural communities in New Mexico.
Alan Oliver, CEO of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, says that also translates into desperately needed jobs in rural New Mexico.
"Especially these days, the bottom line is jobs and that's 1,100 jobs locally in communities, especially rural communities, all around the state."
Oliver says some in Congress are concerned about the expense of adding additional national monuments. He he says that is short-sighted.
"These are important places, part of our national heritage, that need to be preserved from generation to generation. We would be losing parts of our national history."
He says New Mexico's 10 national monuments established through the Antiquities Act account for nearly 1.3 million annual tourist visits and $54 million in spending by visitors, helping support 1,100 jobs.
Fact sheets on each park in the state are available at www.nmgreenchamber.com.