Priority Campaign 2022

Castner Range

Castner Range
Photo: Mark Clune

The Conservation Alliance represents a coalition of businesses dedicated to conserving outdoor spaces and wild places. Through our work we support, advocate, and elevate grassroots environmental organizations that work to permanently protect the outdoor spaces that provide value, both economic and recreational, to their local communities. We do this not only because it’s the right thing, but because investing in land and water protection today creates jobs, helps local communities, and provides for future generations. 

This year, in addition to our regular grant cycles, we’ve invested in four priority campaigns – the protection of the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, Bristol Bay in Alaska, Castner Range in Texas, and the Dolores River in Colorado. Each campaign addresses settling competing demands for natural resources, adapting to a changing climate, recognizing the rights of Indigenous communities, and protecting habitat in places that are also valued for human recreation.

We announce our Advocacy Priority Campaigns once a year. In collaboration with our grantees, we work to identify land and water conservation opportunities that are urgent, vital, and in need of national attention. This year, we were proud to work with members of our inaugural Confluence Program as well as members of our flagship multi-year grant program.

Castner Range, Texas

Photo: Judy Ackerman
What’s at stake?

Castner Range is one of the few wild, undeveloped areas around El Paso, currently preserved from land urbanization by its status as a former military training ground.  Renowned for its annual display of blooming Mexican Yellow Poppies, Castner Range has exceptional cultural, ecological, and historical values. For many years, the community has sought to protect the area to better access and enjoy the beautiful space. Protecting Castner Range will bring greater balance between the developed areas and natural landscape in one of the nation’s lowest per-capita household income urban areas.

What’s the solution?

The Biden administration could use its power under the Antiquities Act to designate Castner as a national monument (like we asked in this Op-Ed with Outside Business Journal). In April, 2021, Representative Veronica Escobar introduced the Castner Range National Monument Act, which would ensure greater public access to public lands in El Paso and conserve its natural features, Indigenous and historical significance, and wildlife habitats from development.  And in March, 2022, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited El Paso to hear from the community about the importance of protecting Castner Range.

The Conservation Alliance joins groups advocating for permanent protection of Castner Range through:

  • Designating a National Monument to protect the Castner Range by passing legislation in Congress or through administrative action via the Antiquities Act.
Who are The Conservation Alliance’s partners?

Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project has a people-focused mission to ensure that Frontera (border) communities have access to the outdoors—and that our history, values and people are reflected in public lands management. The Conservation Alliance has been a proud supporter of Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project since 2021. The Alliance is also supporting ​​Monumental SHIFT with multi-year funding for two National Monument endorsement campaigns: Avi Kaw Ame, or Spirit Mountain, in Nevada and Castner Range in Texas. Monumental SHIFT Coalition is a collaborative network of racially and ethnically diverse leaders working together to shift  the traditional conservation movement to better represent and honor lands and places sacred to its communities. Our third partner is The Frontera Land Alliance. Frontera is the leading local grassroots group based in El Paso, TX responsible for building strong community support for the protection of Castner Range.