Senator Ken SalazarU.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was in Montana Tuesday touring Flathead Valley, one of the so-called jewels of the Earth, in a possible prelude to a lasting protective status there, according to KAJ18 news.

Then Salazar high-tailed it to Colorado to officially dedicate the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area south of Grand Junction as national conservation and wilderness areas.

It took two years of politics to win the designation, according to 7News, which notes that President Barack Obama will be in that region this weekend.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel writes, Salazar attended the dedication “with more than a passing interest in the 210,000 acres of Colorado landscape being protected.” In his former role as U.S. senator, Salazar spent years hammering out the deal with ranchers, recreation and environmental groups, and government officials.