Advocating for Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Dripping Springs Trail Head

I won’t be shy about advocating, from time to time, for specific public lands: for protection, for appreciation, for raising a voice.  As many know, there are currently 27 National Monuments under review by the Dept of the Interior.

The Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Natl Monument designation conferred in 2014, was based on years of community involvement, including the business community and affected federal agencies, such as the Border Patrol.  This Monument meets the DoI criterion of preserving historic landmarks that are part of this nation’s founding, such as the Butterfield Trail; there are indigenous archaeological and historical sites throughout the almost 500,000 acres.  There are sites that memorialize our scientific history, where Apollo astronauts trained in a mile-wide crater.  Perhaps more to the point of DoI’s criteria, the Monument  has stimulated a dramatic increase in visitation to the city of Las Cruces and the surrounding area.  It is proving to be a significant draw to tourists, who come to visit and while here, spend their vacation dollars.  The small business people have seen the economics of the community increase significantly.  The City of Las Cruces and the Dona Ana County Commissioners have recently voted to support the existing Monument, with no reduction in size.

Here are links to the BLM website for the Monument and to a website set up by friends and advocates for this National Monument.  Deadline for comments is July 10, 2017.

https://www.blm.gov/nlcs_web/sites/nm/st/en/prog/NLCS/OMDP_NM.html

https://www.organmountains.org/

 

About the Author

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I grew up and lived in the DC Metro area for most of my life. For the last 20-some years of my career, I worked for the Federal Government. Much of that time, I worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service. Visiting refuges and National Forests around the country, working with the folks whose jobs were to protect, restore, and manage the wild lands, forests and creatures that depend on them is where my heart resonated. I didn't know it then, but that's where my public lands advocacy must have been born. I moved from DC to southwestern NM in 2008. I continued to work until 2013, when I left the government in December. Now I spend my time volunteering for various conservation non-profits. And traveling through the west to National Parks, Refuges, National Forests and BLM lands in our little motor home. And advocating for the protection of these lands that belong to all of us. I enjoy writing, photography, reading, birding, and driving bad roads in my big-girl 2001 F150 4x4.

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