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President Obama Protects the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

21 May 2014  |   Hannah Blatt

Tags: Public Lands

President Obama is burnishing his conservation legacy by using his authority to designate New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as our newest National Monument. This action came in response to robust support by nearby communities, which have fought for years to protect their lands to boost tourism, the economy and quality of life in southern New Mexico.  Indeed, the announcement of America’s newest park is part of the president’s ongoing campaign promoting tourism in America, and it follows his State of the Union promise to “...use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations” during this “year of action.” 

Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall worked closely with local stakeholders and the Obama administration to make the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks a National Monument—protecting nearly 500,000 acres of beautiful landscape for future generations to enjoy while growing the economy and creating jobs. In fact, the monument is estimated to contribute more than $7.4 million to the local economy and bring in approximately $560,000 in tax revenues for state and local governments while doubling the number of outdoor recreation and tourism jobs. In addition, the President’s action will ensure that people are able to continue using the land in ways it’s been used in the past, such as hiking, camping, mountain biking, hunting, horseback riding, grazing, and riding ATVs. It will also safeguard the area’s unique wildlife like the golden eagle and pronghorn antelope, as well as preserve the site’s archeological resources including caves inhabited thousands of years ago by prehistoric cultures, and many important historical places like the training sites for the Apollo astronauts and the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has garnered widespread support from local businesses, ranchers, faith leaders, and elected officials. Additionally, a poll found that 83 percent of residents in Dona Ana County—which encompasses the monument site—support protecting the area as a national monument. The Obama Administration also formally engaged the public and solicited their input when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell attended a town hall meeting hosted by Senators Udall and Heinrich that revealed widespread and diverse local support for protecting the area.

President Obama deserves a lot of credit for making the local community’s desire to protect their lands into a reality. Please take a moment to thank President Obama for his decision to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. Especially at a time when Congress is gridlocked and unable to pass legislation protecting our public lands, we urge President Obama to continue to build on his conservation legacy by permanently protecting even more of our pristine federal lands, including places such as California’s San Gabriel Mountains and Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds mountains. That will be good for our environment and our economy. 

 (Photograph found on Flickr, and taken by mypubliclands)

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