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New Mexico Spaceport Authority Announces Formal Collaboration

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Tue Apr 3, 2007 2:48 pm
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New Mexico Spaceport Authority Announces Formal Collaboration with Federal Agencies, Nonprofit Groups, Regarding El Camino Real

The Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and CARTA, the non-profit advocacy group for El Camino Real, have accepted an invitation from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to collaborate on specific ways to protect and preserve the historic El Camino Real in the Jornada del Muerto and to maximize joint education and marketing programs, according to Rick Homans, Chairman of the NM Spaceport Authority.

At the same time, Governor Bill Richardson has written Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to support the nomination of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro onto the United States Tentative List for the World Heritage Program, according to state Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman.

Homans released letters from the BLM and NPS that recognized the federal agencies have no authority to dictate state actions on state lands, and that offered to participate in an advisory role to the project. He also released a letter from the National Trust for Historic Preservation offering to participate in a formal and structured advisory process.

Homans also released a resolution passed Saturday by the board of directors of Camino Real De Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA) that “formally expresses its willingness and desire to develop a positive, mutually beneficial relationship with Spaceport America” that would include “marketing and educational opportunities” as well as to “actively contribute, in an advisory role, to the design of Spaceport America’s site layout, facilities, buildings and other elements as appropriate.”

Homans said other key parties, such as the State Land Office and Sierra County, will be invited to participate in the advisory group as well.

“Here we have a valley in which the historic trail that joined the Americas intersects with a new trail into the great unknown of space,” said Homans. “We intend to protect and preserve El Camino Real, and celebrate the human spirit of adventure and exploration that is so evident in both cases. We look forward to working closely with the federal and state agencies and non-profit organizations to accomplish these goals.”

The NM Spaceport Authority has already made specific proposals that will help to protect and preserve the trail and enhance the viability of the spaceport, Homans said.

These proposals include:
· a 20-mile no development zone that would be developed in conjunction with Sierra County, Dona Ana County, State Land Office, Bureau of Land Management, CARTA and private landowners;
· limiting vehicle traffic near El Camino Real and into the spaceport by providing visitor/welcome center and park-and-ride facilities in Hatch and Truth or Consequences;
· using the spaceport’s agreements with local ranchers and the lease with the State Land Office to limit future road easements and mineral exploration, and to ensure that area ranching operations stay viable and public lands are used for grazing;
· setting a future goal of putting underground a large segment of the massive 345-kv powerline that runs through the middle of the Jornada del Muerto;
· making a commitment to have a single entry point to the spaceport that would use an existing county road to cross El Camino Real.

Governor Richardson’s letter to Secretary Kempthorne identified Spaceport America as an opportunity to work collaboratively to protect and preserve El Camino Real, and to develop joint marketing and education opportunities. He cited the International significance of the trail.

“The Camino Real played a pivotal role in the history of New Mexico, the American Southwest, and northern Mexico,” Governor Richardson wrote in his March 28, letter to Secretary Kempthorne.

“In order to understand the cultural characteristics of much of the western United States, one has to understand the central role that El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro played in shaping the human values and cultural systems of this broad geographical region,” Governor Richardson wrote.

Secretary Ashman has written his own letter of support for the nomination, and echoed Governor Richardson’s comments.

“The 1,500-mile-long El Camino Real – the Royal Road of the Interior Lands – is one of our nation’s most important historic trails and one of New Mexico’s most valued cultural resources,” said Ashman. “Ideas, people and products flowed from south to north and back again as settlers, soldiers, traders and travelers helped build New Mexico, the Southwest and the nation.”

The World Heritage Sites list, managed by managed by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), are places deemed to be worthy of recognition as being part of the human legacy to be preserved for future generations.

There are 830 sites around the world currently on the list, including 20 in the United States, three of which are in New Mexico: Chaco Canyon, Taos Pueblo and Carlsbad Caverns.

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