Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument to be Designated Wednesday

Dona Ana Mountains, NM Photo: Lisa Mandelkern

We are celebrating this morning after learning that on Wednesday, President Obama will sign a proclamation designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico.

Conservation Alliance grantee, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, has been leading the effort to secure protection for the area for the past decade and we have made three grants to the effort totaling $100,000 since 2009.

The new national monument will cover 450,000 acres including the Organ Mountains, the Robledo Mountains northwest of Las Cruces, the Doña Ana Mountains north of Las Cruces; the Potrillo Mountains in the southwestern part of the county; and the Sierra de Las Uvas Mountains in the Hatch region.

The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument is by far the largest of Obama’s monument’s to date. It is also significant that this is the first time Obama will declare a monument over the wishes of the local Congressman. New Mexico’s two Senators strongly support the designation, but Congressman Steve Pearce opposes. It is encouraging that the President is willing to act despite some opposition. Senators Heinrich and Udall will eventually introduce legislation to designate roughly half of the monument as Wilderness.

“I want to thank President Obama for protecting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, one our state and national treasures,” said New Mexico State Senator Bill Soules. “They are the crossroads of New Mexico’s diverse history and culture and are home to flowering cacti, bald eagles and pronghorn antelope as well as over 10,000 years of human history. This designation is good for New Mexico’s economy, environment, and cultural history.”

To learn more, read the full story from the Las Cruces paper here.

Photo Credit: Lisa Mandelkern