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Conservation milestone

Celebrate two conservation milestones that help protect New Mexico natural and cultural resources.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Trail System Acts. The federal laws protect special rivers including the Rio Grande, Chama, and Pecos rivers as well as historic, scenic, and recreational trails, according to Bjorn Fredrickson, Wild and Scenic River Program Manager for the USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region.

The celebration starts tonight with a reception with refreshments and a panel discussion titled “Why New Mexico’s public lands, rivers, and trails matter” at Keller Hall on the University of New Mexico campus.

The festivities continue Saturday with a welcoming dance performance by the Lightning Boy Foundation at 10 a.m. Mariachi Albuquerque will perform from noon to 2 p.m.

“There will be a speaker series running the rest of the day,” Fredrickson said. “It is family-friendly. You will find a concentration on Native lands on teaching people with an interest in the environment about a variety of topics. (There will be) conservation and recreation opportunities, bird-watching walks, river hikes in the bosque to fly-fishing and bass-casting clinics.”

A number of family-friendly recreation opportunities, including a river float down the Rio Grande, games and conservation education activities will be part of the celebration, and discussions on “Social and Economic Benefits of Trails,” “Managing Rivers Under Climate Change,” and more will be part of the event. A speaker series on trails and rivers will be held from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

“Closing out the evening will be a reception and a panel discussion in celebration of these two conservation milestone legislation passed,” Fredrickson said. “(The panel also will focus on) looking forward and into the future emphasizing how public land management works together to ensure growing inclusivity to public lands in New Mexico succeeding and serving all people in the United States Public Land system.”

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