Court Upholds Mount Taylor Cultural Status

Feb 7, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme has upheld a tribal cultural designation that protects hundreds of thousands of acres on Mount Taylor.

In a ruling yesterday, the justices said the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee acted lawfully when it granted the special designation for some 400,000 acres of public land on the mountain in 2009. The court did, however, reverse the panel's inclusion of 19,000 acres of land grant property, saying it was not state land as defined in the Cultural Properties Act.

Five tribes initially nominated the protected area and worked to show why it should be preserved. The land is home to cultural resources like pilgrimage trails, shrines, archaeological sites, burial sites and petroglyphs

The designation was made in 2009, but was overturned on a court challenge by uranium companies and private landowners.