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The Planet

Petroglyph Park Paved?

The Planet, June 1997, Volume 4, number 5

New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici (R) has introduced a bill that could threaten national parks throughout the United States. S. 633 would allow the extension of Paseo Del Norte, a six- lane "commuter highway," through the middle of Petroglyph National Monument.

"Domenici's bill to extend this road would not only harm a site considered sacred by the Pueblo Indians," said Julie Hicks, Albuquerque Sierra Club liaison to the Petroglyph Monument Protection Coalition, "it would set a dangerous precedent for development in protected areas and would jeopardize the environment and the inhabitants of national monuments across the country." The coalition, which includes the Club's Albuquerque Group, Southwest Organizing Project, Native Lands Institute, and others, is committed to preserving the sacred and cultural integrity of the 7,200-acre monument, home to the greatest number of petroglyphs near an American urban area.

"Constructing a major highway through this monument is like running a highway through a church or synagogue," said Hicks. "Currently road construction in parks must serve a direct park purpose, and we intend to keep it that way." Polls show that the majority of Albuquerque residents do not approve of Domenici's plan, especially in light of the fact that there are less expensive alternatives for the highway extension, which Hicks and other coalition partners argue would not affect this sacred site and would not exacerbate the unchecked sprawl that currently plagues Albuquerque's west side. Still, Domenici wants this bill and this road to go through and he may have the votes.

To take action: Please contact your senators and ask them to vote against S. 633. Call Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit at (202) 208-6956 and ask him to oppose any legislation that would threaten Petroglyph National Monument -- all our parks are at stake.

For more information: Contact Julie Hicks at (505) 345-7832; e-mail:

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