By Susan Montoya Bryan
Albuquerque, New Mexico (AP)

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says that over the past two centuries, America’s best ideas for protecting its vast and open lands have arrived when the country has been facing its most trying times.

Now is no different, Salazar told a crowd of dignitaries, state and federal workers, volunteers and conservationists who gathered April 17 at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History to celebrate the omnibus public lands bill recently signed into law by President Barack Obama.