The Northern RIo Grande National Heritage Area was recognized by the US Congress in 2006 for its mosaic of living cultures and traditions, including the Jicarilla Apache Nation, eight Indian Pueblos, descendants of Spanish Colonial settlers, and more recent arrivals from various heritages.
The Heritage Area comprises a unique mosaic of Native American and Spanish Colonial architecture, languages, traditions, and land use set in stupendous scenery and cultural landscapes that reflect a "very long Present "instead of "the past" or "dead history." Native Americans still live in their ancestral homelands and Spanish-speaking people have lived in ancestral villages for generations. The feel is authenticity, of continuity from deep roots.
The Heritage Area comprises Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, and Taos counties (some 10,000 square mils) and is accessed by US and NM highways and scenic byways as well as county roads, forest roads, trails, and paths. Public land (US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, State Parks, Municipal parks and open space) are readily available for hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting, canoeing, fishing, sailing, hunting, etc. See individual locations for outdoor amenities.