Message #421:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Petroglyphs and Road Construction
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 96 15:26:00 MST
Encoding: 123 TEXT

[  Here is a story about Petroglyphs and Road Construction in Albuquerque, 
the the local slant from an SWA SASIG reader -- SASIG Ed. ]


Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico imperiled by Road Plans
The Petroglyph National Monument comprises more than 7,200 acres along 
Albuquerque's scenic West Mesa Escarpment and was established by Congress in 
1990. The Monument is home to more than 15,000 documented works of rock art, 
known as Petroglyphs,  the largest known unexcavated pueblo in the region, 
and more than three hundred other archeological sites. The Monument also 
contains numerous unique natural and geological features, including five 
volcanoes which frame Albuquerque's western skyline.

October 10, 1996 Visitors from around the globe flock to New Mexico to 
experience and learn about the ways of its native peoples who first settled 
the region - the Pueblo Indian and Hispano peoples who continue to maintain 
their spiritual and cultural traditions. The Monument and its resources are 
of substantial spiritual and cultural importance to the native peoples.

The Monument's resources are threatened by uncontrolled, sprawl development 
of one of the nation's most rapidly growing urban areas. Congress recognized 
this threat and created the Monument for the purpose of protecting the 
area's nationally significant cultural and natural resources from the 
threats posed by urbanization and vandalism.

The Monument is now threatened by the City of Albuquerque's plans to 
construct two commuter highways through the Monument - six lane Paseo del 
Norte and four lane Unser Boulevard.

The roads are being pushed by Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez. Mayor Chavez 
was elected in 1994 by the narrowest of margins, thanks to hefty campaign 
contributions from developers and landowners who now stand to benefit from 
the proposed roads. Chavez has taken on the construction project as a 
personal crusade. Chavez has vowed that the roads will be built and has 
predicted that there will be movement on the issue within weeks of the 
upcoming November election.

It is widely acknowledged that construction of Paseo del Norte would violate 
applicable federal laws. For this reason Chavez is pushing for a 
Congressional fix - an amendment to the Act which created the monument which 
would authorize construction of the road.

We need your help in preventing such an atrocity, which will result in 
desecration of a sacred area, set a dangerous precedent by allowing 
construction of commuter highways through a unit of the National Park 
System, and degrade the area's cultural, archeological, scientific and 
natural values.

1.Please write Mayor Chavez to let him know that you oppose his plans for 
the roads. A sample letter follows.
2.Please send a copy of your letter to the Petroglyph Monument Protection 
Coalition c/o SouthWest Organizing Project / 211 10th Street, SW/ 
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Thanks for your support!
Petroglyph Monument Protection Coalition
SouthWest Organizing Project

Mayor Martin J. Chavez
City of Albuquerque
1 Civic Plaza
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Dear Mayor Chavez:
I am writing to let you know that I strongly oppose your plans to build two 
commuter highways through Petroglyph National Monument.

The Monument is a national treasure. It is a unit of the National Park 
System. Its resources should not be degraded for commuter highways. It is 
Albuquerque's responsibility to work with the Park Service to ensure that 
the Monument receives the protection it deserves. Surely you and your staff 
should be able to find alternatives for roads which would adequately serve 
Albuquerque's transportation needs.

Albuquerque is fortunate that Congress has graced it with a National 
Monument on its western border. With the possible exception of a few special 
interests, the entire Albuquerque community benefits enormously from the 
Monument. The City should make the Monument a showcase for its residents and 

While the Albuquerque area is attractive in many ways, the City is fast 
acquiring the reputation of being a place of uncontrolled, sprawl 
development, and a City which does not do a good job of protecting its 
special places. It will not look good for Albuquerque if the City sacrifices 
a unit of the National Park Service to sprawl development.

Please abandon your plans to build Paseo del Norte and Unser Boulevard 
through Petroglyph National Monument.


    ---- End Included Message -----


As far as I can tell, the story is essentially correct (and old news around 
here) with the exception of the following:  "It is widely acknowledged that 
construction of Paseo del Norte would violate applicable federal laws. For 
this reason Chavez is pushing for a Congressional fix - an amendment to the 
Act which created the monument which  would authorize construction of the 
road."  I believe the Petroglyph Naitonal Monument enabling legislation 
recognized the need to build at least one major artery across the monument 
to allow commuter access to very important developable land and an airport 
to the west. The enabling legislation had the  agreement of all interested 
parties who chose to get involved - it's development was a very open 
process.  Without development relief to the west, the city will be 
strangulated (perhaps not a bad idea, but we have no effective means to 
control immigration here - despite  the Mayor's efforts to control 
development in other ways).  The Coalition neglects to indicate why the two 
road developments are essential to future growth of the city - and why the 
Mayor is  supports them.  Hope this helps, though it may not be 
authoritative.  Best regards.....