Update: Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited Las Cruces for a town hall on January 24, 2014, after Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall introduced Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act on December 12, 2013. Video from town hall can be seen here.
In the past year, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has helped mobilize incredible community support for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks proposed national monument in Doña Ana County. In a recent survey, 83 percent of local citizens expressed their support for the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will protect this rare American landscape and its abundant history. National Monument designation also will help secure significant long-term economic benefits for Doña Ana County and Southern New Mexico (for example, visitors to the nearby White Sands National Monument spent $15.7 million in the local economy in 2008).
Press Release: Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Legislation Introduced
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The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance applauded U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall for their Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act on December 12, 2013. The legislation would protect 500,000 acres of culturally and ecologically rich Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Doña Ana County. The national monument would include the Organ Mountains, Sierra de las Uvas Mountains Complex, and Greater Potrillo Mountains. Among the wildlife that call this their home are golden eagles, many hawk species, owls, desert mule deer, three quail species, mountain lion, pronghorn, javelina, bobcat, coyote, bats, rock squirrels and other rodents, and numerous other birds.
In addition to getting the local community on board with the proposed monument, we also have garnered support from local officials, hundreds of local businesses and the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, we earned media endorsements from the El Paso Times, Las Cruces Sun-News, The Albuquerque Journal, Deming Headlight and the Santa Fe New Mexican. Between April and October 2012, the Town of Mesilla, the cities of Sunland Park, Las Cruces and El Paso, and the Doña Ana County Commission all passed resolutions supporting a national monument. View full list of supporters here.
ABOUT THE ORGAN MOUNTAIN-DESERT PEAKS REGION
Organ Mountains: Our Organ Mountains define the Mesilla Valley. From picnickers to horsemen, family outings to day hikes, they offer great recreation, important wildlife habitat, critical watershed protection, and the natural backdrop to New Mexico’s second largest city: Las Cruces. The Organ Mountains encompass three wilderness study areas, each unique and worthy of permanent protection.
Sierra de Las Uvas Mountains: These volcanic mountains support outstanding high desert grasslands. The Uvas sustain thriving populations of quail, deer, javelina and other wildlife. In addition, three different Native American cultures left their marks in various sites throughout these scenic mountains. The Uvas have been managed as a wilderness study area since 1984.
Broad Canyon: A secluded gem, Broad Canyon shelters hidden water pools, flat topped mountains and ancient cultural sites. Only 45 minutes from Las Cruces, this area has some of the most beautiful views that stretch across Southern New Mexico and into Mexico, and is a vital watershed draining over 75 square miles of land.
Potrillo Mountains: Extinct volcanoes, black lava fields, and mile after mile of desert grassland combine to give the West Potrillo Mountains qualities found nowhere else in New Mexico. Just 45 minutes from El Paso and Las Cruces, the Potrillos could be New Mexico’s 4th largest wilderness.
Robledo Mountains: The Robledo Mountains house the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument. They have worldwide significance and bring wonderful recognition to the Mesilla Valley Region. The Robledo Mountains unit has been managed as a wilderness study area since 1984.
Cultural Resources: The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal protects a New Mexico legacy spanning Pre-American, New Mexican, and American history that includes training sites for the Apollo Space Mission, the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, Geronimo’s Cave and thousands of Native American petroglyphs and pictographs. Download the archaeological report.
We need your help to save the historical, cultural and ecological gems in Dona Ana County. Please consider giving to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance to help us continue our work for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks campaign. Your generous contributions help us fund our Las Cruces staff members who are working on the ground every day to promote an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.