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New Mexico Wilderness Alliance stands solidly against removing current wilderness protections in Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs).

Pearce’s “Luna and Hildalgo Counties Wilderness Study Area Release Act of 2015” would remove existing wilderness protections in some of New Mexico’s wildest backcountry including portions of Florida Mountains, Big Hatchet Mountains, Peloncillo Mountains, Gila Lower Box, Alamo Hueco Mountains, Blue Creek, Cedar Mountains, Cooke’s Range and Guadalupe Canyon. This is yet his latest assault on our national public lands.

Over 500 Wilderness Study Areas exist throughout the United States safeguarding wildlife corridors, critical habitat and traditional uses. In New Mexico, Pearce’s legislation would open up over 100,000 acres to mining and other extractive uses.

In the 9 areas to be nullified in Pearce’s legislation those corridors affect the location of the iconic jaguar’s last siting, and the home of bighorn, quail, ibex, and the Coues deer. A wilderness ‘wipe-out’ like this fragments habitat and migration patterns forever.

The current bill to open these lands to private, resource extraction interests happened without local New Mexico community involvement. 10 years of experience in healthy community input during the recent creation of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks and Rio Grande Del Norte National Monuments put New Mexico on the national map, recognized for open political processes, healthy dialogue and communities coming together for the common good. And in response, we as a nation protected these lands for continued common good. Pearce proposed the Release Act with an unhealthy, cynical and disrespectful regard for real public input. This underscores a need for all of us to be vigilant and vocal.

Backdrop—the assault on our national public lands.

The Release Act dissolves the protection system that allows wild lands to be managed for their wilderness characteristics and the potential to eventually be protected forever by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Once a WSA is released, the end of land conservation begins.

Next Steps: Keep all New Mexico Wilderness Study Areas intact and on their way to full Wilderness permanent protection and stewardship

Pearce wants to turn these wild lands into industrial sites. Let’s tell him NO!

Pearce wants to turn these public lands for all over to private development for the few. Let’s tell him NO!

Pearce is starting right here in our back yard. Let’s tell him NO!

What can you do?

Go online to action.nmwild.org and sign the petition to oppose the Pearce legislation

Further petition your local, state and national elected officials to call for permanent protection of these and all WSA’s as designated Wilderness

Write an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor to oppose the release of WSA’s

A New Mexico Wilderness Alliance declaration

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance will not take this threat of WSA Release lightly. We will remain committed to lead this fight, and we will win with your help. Contrary to devaluing Wilderness, we hold that Wilderness sings a joyful and essential song in this universe and we vow to steward its continued protection.