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Senator Siah Correa Hemphill to sponsor certificate honoring the Gila Wilderness

February 2, 2024
Leia Barnett, WildEarth Guardians Greater Gila New Mexico Advocate, (970) 406-2125,  lbarnett@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Public Lands  
#ForceForNature, #GreaterGila, #PressStatement
Date: February 2, 2024

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: New Mexico State Capitol Building, 411 S. Capitol St., Santa Fe, NM 8750

SANTA FE, N.M. On February 2nd, State Senator Siah Correa Hemphill (D-Catron, Grant & Socorro-28) will honor the 100th anniversary of the designation of the Gila Wilderness by reading a certificate on the senate floor during this year’s New Mexico Legislative session.

Members of the media are invited to attend the reading of the certificate, followed by a celebration to be held in the rotunda of the New Mexico State Capitol Building. Senator Hemphill, environmental advocates, and community members will be present to provide comments and answer questions.

“The Gila Wilderness is the central gem of a multi-million acre bioregion that is profoundly culturally and ecologically significant to the Southwest,” said Leia Barnett, WildEarth Guardians’ Greater Gila Advocate.“100 years ago, the designation of the Wilderness fundamentally changed our perspective of what public lands are for.  We’re hoping this Centennial will spur a similar shift that sets a precedent for justice-based land management that adequately addresses the crises of our time. We’re immensely grateful for Senator Hemphill’s willingness to ensure this special place is celebrated on its 100th birthday.”  

The Gila Wilderness is the world’s first Wilderness area, administratively designated in 1924, largely through the efforts of conservationist and ecologist Aldo Leopold. The certificate celebrates the ecological and cultural importance of the Gila and  its significance as a living cultural landscape, a celebrated hunting ground, a wildlife sanctuary, a place of refuge for wild nature, and an important part of both Tribal and non-Tribal community values for New Mexicans all across the state. 

“The Gila Wilderness holds a special place in my heart,” said Senator Hemphill. “It’s the birthplace of the love story between my great grandmother’s cousin, Estella Bergere and the great conservationist, Aldo Leopold. And to this day my husband and I still take our kids to the Gila Wilderness to escape. As the first ever federally designated wilderness in the world, I am proud to champion efforts here in New Mexico to preserve the cultural, familial, and environmental treasure nestled in Grant and Catron counties.”

The Centennial Certificate is just the beginning of celebrations for the Gila Wilderness. Click here to see a full schedule of events. 

Visit here to learn more about WildEarth Guardians’ efforts to protect the Greater Gila Bioregion.