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2014

  • Testimonial – Angel Pena 

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    The Santa Fe New Mexican 

    For more than 100 years, Republican and Democratic presidents alike have used their authority under the Antiquities Act to preserve the greatest of America’s iconic lands and sites. Established by that superb conservationist, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, the act has helped preserve such essential parts of the United States as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty — and more recently in Northern New Mexico, the Río Grande del Norte Monument.

    It is ironic, then, that as New Mexico celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Río Grande del Norte Monument’s establishment, some in Congress want to strip away the power of presidents to preserve. That bill, HR 1459, narrowly passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. With Democrats in power in the Senate, it will go nowhere — but it’s smart to pay attention.

    Because Republican control of the Senate is possible after the mid-terms — and perhaps a Republican president in 2016 — bills such as this give us clues about the future. Should the GOP control both the legislative and administrative branches of government, it is likely that their beliefs about preservation (or exploitation) of wilderness and cultural properties will take precedence. The bill, titled “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation (EPIC) of National Monuments Act,” would limit presidents to just one new monument per four-year term, and introduce a number of regulatory roadblocks to make preservation difficult, if not impossible. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah; New Mexico’s Rep. Ben Ray Luján spoke passionately against the bill.

    After all, one reason President Barack Obama has used the Antiquities Act is that Congress is doing little to protect wilderness and other properties. Except for one wilderness bill that became law earlier this month, Congress had not protected any new public lands since 2009. That’s the longest gap since World War II. Presidential action, though, continues to set aside lands in New Mexico — and we trust that President Obama soon will sign an order to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Southern New Mexico as well. The Antiquities Act matters to New Mexico.

    The designation of the Río Grande del Norte Monument, as predicted, has resulted in a 40 percent increase in visitation and significant economic activity in and around Taos, say its supporters. Taos lodgers’ tax revenue increased by 21 percent in the second half of 2013, compared to that same period in 2012. That added up to an increase of nearly $100,000. Gross receipts revenues in Taos County increased 8.3 percent, or $3.7 million, for businesses in the food services and accommodations sector over that same period. Some of this can be attributed to the new monument.

    The Republican approach — to stop protection of cultural properties and wilderness — is wrong for the country.

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    The Santa Fe New Mexican 

    For more than 100 years, Republican and Democratic presidents alike have used their authority under the Antiquities Act to preserve the greatest of America’s iconic lands and sites. Established by that superb conservationist, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, the act has helped preserve such essential parts of the United States as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty — and more recently in Northern New Mexico, the Río Grande del Norte Monument.

    It is ironic, then, that as New Mexico celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Río Grande del Norte Monument’s establishment, some in Congress want to strip away the power of presidents to preserve. That bill, HR 1459, narrowly passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. With Democrats in power in the Senate, it will go nowhere — but it’s smart to pay attention.

    Because Republican control of the Senate is possible after the mid-terms — and perhaps a Republican president in 2016 — bills such as this give us clues about the future. Should the GOP control both the legislative and administrative branches of government, it is likely that their beliefs about preservation (or exploitation) of wilderness and cultural properties will take precedence. The bill, titled “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation (EPIC) of National Monuments Act,” would limit presidents to just one new monument per four-year term, and introduce a number of regulatory roadblocks to make preservation difficult, if not impossible. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah; New Mexico’s Rep. Ben Ray Luján spoke passionately against the bill.

    After all, one reason President Barack Obama has used the Antiquities Act is that Congress is doing little to protect wilderness and other properties. Except for one wilderness bill that became law earlier this month, Congress had not protected any new public lands since 2009. That’s the longest gap since World War II. Presidential action, though, continues to set aside lands in New Mexico — and we trust that President Obama soon will sign an order to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Southern New Mexico as well. The Antiquities Act matters to New Mexico.

    The designation of the Río Grande del Norte Monument, as predicted, has resulted in a 40 percent increase in visitation and significant economic activity in and around Taos, say its supporters. Taos lodgers’ tax revenue increased by 21 percent in the second half of 2013, compared to that same period in 2012. That added up to an increase of nearly $100,000. Gross receipts revenues in Taos County increased 8.3 percent, or $3.7 million, for businesses in the food services and accommodations sector over that same period. Some of this can be attributed to the new monument.

    The Republican approach — to stop protection of cultural properties and wilderness — is wrong for the country.

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    The Santa Fe New Mexican 

    For more than 100 years, Republican and Democratic presidents alike have used their authority under the Antiquities Act to preserve the greatest of America’s iconic lands and sites. Established by that superb conservationist, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, the act has helped preserve such essential parts of the United States as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty — and more recently in Northern New Mexico, the Río Grande del Norte Monument.

    It is ironic, then, that as New Mexico celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Río Grande del Norte Monument’s establishment, some in Congress want to strip away the power of presidents to preserve. That bill, HR 1459, narrowly passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. With Democrats in power in the Senate, it will go nowhere — but it’s smart to pay attention.

    Because Republican control of the Senate is possible after the mid-terms — and perhaps a Republican president in 2016 — bills such as this give us clues about the future. Should the GOP control both the legislative and administrative branches of government, it is likely that their beliefs about preservation (or exploitation) of wilderness and cultural properties will take precedence. The bill, titled “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation (EPIC) of National Monuments Act,” would limit presidents to just one new monument per four-year term, and introduce a number of regulatory roadblocks to make preservation difficult, if not impossible. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah; New Mexico’s Rep. Ben Ray Luján spoke passionately against the bill.

    After all, one reason President Barack Obama has used the Antiquities Act is that Congress is doing little to protect wilderness and other properties. Except for one wilderness bill that became law earlier this month, Congress had not protected any new public lands since 2009. That’s the longest gap since World War II. Presidential action, though, continues to set aside lands in New Mexico — and we trust that President Obama soon will sign an order to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Southern New Mexico as well. The Antiquities Act matters to New Mexico.

    The designation of the Río Grande del Norte Monument, as predicted, has resulted in a 40 percent increase in visitation and significant economic activity in and around Taos, say its supporters. Taos lodgers’ tax revenue increased by 21 percent in the second half of 2013, compared to that same period in 2012. That added up to an increase of nearly $100,000. Gross receipts revenues in Taos County increased 8.3 percent, or $3.7 million, for businesses in the food services and accommodations sector over that same period. Some of this can be attributed to the new monument.

    The Republican approach — to stop protection of cultural properties and wilderness — is wrong for the country.

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    The Santa Fe New Mexican 

    For more than 100 years, Republican and Democratic presidents alike have used their authority under the Antiquities Act to preserve the greatest of America’s iconic lands and sites. Established by that superb conservationist, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, the act has helped preserve such essential parts of the United States as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty — and more recently in Northern New Mexico, the Río Grande del Norte Monument.

    It is ironic, then, that as New Mexico celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Río Grande del Norte Monument’s establishment, some in Congress want to strip away the power of presidents to preserve. That bill, HR 1459, narrowly passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. With Democrats in power in the Senate, it will go nowhere — but it’s smart to pay attention.

    Because Republican control of the Senate is possible after the mid-terms — and perhaps a Republican president in 2016 — bills such as this give us clues about the future. Should the GOP control both the legislative and administrative branches of government, it is likely that their beliefs about preservation (or exploitation) of wilderness and cultural properties will take precedence. The bill, titled “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation (EPIC) of National Monuments Act,” would limit presidents to just one new monument per four-year term, and introduce a number of regulatory roadblocks to make preservation difficult, if not impossible. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah; New Mexico’s Rep. Ben Ray Luján spoke passionately against the bill.

    After all, one reason President Barack Obama has used the Antiquities Act is that Congress is doing little to protect wilderness and other properties. Except for one wilderness bill that became law earlier this month, Congress had not protected any new public lands since 2009. That’s the longest gap since World War II. Presidential action, though, continues to set aside lands in New Mexico — and we trust that President Obama soon will sign an order to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Southern New Mexico as well. The Antiquities Act matters to New Mexico.

    The designation of the Río Grande del Norte Monument, as predicted, has resulted in a 40 percent increase in visitation and significant economic activity in and around Taos, say its supporters. Taos lodgers’ tax revenue increased by 21 percent in the second half of 2013, compared to that same period in 2012. That added up to an increase of nearly $100,000. Gross receipts revenues in Taos County increased 8.3 percent, or $3.7 million, for businesses in the food services and accommodations sector over that same period. Some of this can be attributed to the new monument.

    The Republican approach — to stop protection of cultural properties and wilderness — is wrong for the country.

  • The Santa Fe New Mexican
    May 22, 2014

    What a great moment for New Mexico!

    Southern New Mexico’s Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks have gained the essential wilderness protection they deserve and the community demanded. 

    President Barack Obama’s decision to declare some 500,000 acres the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will mean protection for archaeological, geological and historical sites (Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail and Geronimo’s Cave), as well as assurance that the open spaces that all species need to survive remains untouched. President Obama made the designation through the 1906 Antiquities Act, cheered on by a diverse group of New Mexicans who have been working to safeguard this wilderness for years.

    New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation worked hard to win the protection, with both Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich proposing legislation that would have shielded the region. With Congress gridlocked, though, initiatives to set aside wilderness and to save our natural legacy for our grandchildren have mostly stalled. That’s why presidential action was essential and Obama’s decision welcome.

    It’s the same method he used to designate the Río Grande del Norte National Monument. New Mexicans are grateful the president acted. Southern New Mexicans, in particular, know that the economic boost from this designation includes 88 new jobs and an estimated $7.4 million a year in direct economic benefit.

    None of this would have happened without an on-the-ground effort by so many people. Hunters, hikers, tribal leaders, business owners, local governments, city and rural residents — all worked to protect the unique land they love. There was some opposition, as is always the case (even Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce only wanted to protect 55,000 acres and called the move a “land grab”). There were scare tactics that the designation would eliminate grazing rights and encourage drug smugglers. Heinrich and others believe the designation will make it easier to for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to patrol the area. There is no reason that a monument should be mean lawlessness.

    For once, the naysayers could not block what is good for the region and state. This is wonderful news for New Mexico.
    Happy Birthday!

    Five years and 500,000-plus visitors ago, the New Mexico History Museum opened its doors, a modern showcase for the heritage of all New Mexicans. The raves haven’t stopped since, and on Sunday the museum is throwing a birthday party to say thank you. There will be a tea party, hands-on fun and old-timey games. (And thanks to La Fonda on the Plaza, the entire day will be free to all comers.)

    The goings on take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Especially fun for kids of all ages will be the debut of a new front-window installation, Toys and Games: A New Mexico Childhood. Today’s plugged in kids will be able to see the treasures of childhood’s past, with wind-up metal toys, marbles, tops, even a Josefina American Girl doll.

    The museum — which opened to a line of visitors stretched down Palace Avenue anxious to get in — complements the state’s original history museum, the Palace of the Governors. That seat of government for Spain’s northern colony, and later, Mexican and U.S. territorial governors, was the first history museum before New Mexico was a state, back in 1909. Adding to it created more exhibition and storage space, and importantly, more space to tell New Mexico’s many stories.

  • The Santa Fe New Mexican
    May 22, 2014

    What a great moment for New Mexico!

    Southern New Mexico’s Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks have gained the essential wilderness protection they deserve and the community demanded. 

    President Barack Obama’s decision to declare some 500,000 acres the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will mean protection for archaeological, geological and historical sites (Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail and Geronimo’s Cave), as well as assurance that the open spaces that all species need to survive remains untouched. President Obama made the designation through the 1906 Antiquities Act, cheered on by a diverse group of New Mexicans who have been working to safeguard this wilderness for years.

    New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation worked hard to win the protection, with both Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich proposing legislation that would have shielded the region. With Congress gridlocked, though, initiatives to set aside wilderness and to save our natural legacy for our grandchildren have mostly stalled. That’s why presidential action was essential and Obama’s decision welcome.

    It’s the same method he used to designate the Río Grande del Norte National Monument. New Mexicans are grateful the president acted. Southern New Mexicans, in particular, know that the economic boost from this designation includes 88 new jobs and an estimated $7.4 million a year in direct economic benefit.

    None of this would have happened without an on-the-ground effort by so many people. Hunters, hikers, tribal leaders, business owners, local governments, city and rural residents — all worked to protect the unique land they love. There was some opposition, as is always the case (even Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce only wanted to protect 55,000 acres and called the move a “land grab”). There were scare tactics that the designation would eliminate grazing rights and encourage drug smugglers. Heinrich and others believe the designation will make it easier to for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to patrol the area. There is no reason that a monument should be mean lawlessness.

    For once, the naysayers could not block what is good for the region and state. This is wonderful news for New Mexico.
    Happy Birthday!

    Five years and 500,000-plus visitors ago, the New Mexico History Museum opened its doors, a modern showcase for the heritage of all New Mexicans. The raves haven’t stopped since, and on Sunday the museum is throwing a birthday party to say thank you. There will be a tea party, hands-on fun and old-timey games. (And thanks to La Fonda on the Plaza, the entire day will be free to all comers.)

    The goings on take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Especially fun for kids of all ages will be the debut of a new front-window installation, Toys and Games: A New Mexico Childhood. Today’s plugged in kids will be able to see the treasures of childhood’s past, with wind-up metal toys, marbles, tops, even a Josefina American Girl doll.

    The museum — which opened to a line of visitors stretched down Palace Avenue anxious to get in — complements the state’s original history museum, the Palace of the Governors. That seat of government for Spain’s northern colony, and later, Mexican and U.S. territorial governors, was the first history museum before New Mexico was a state, back in 1909. Adding to it created more exhibition and storage space, and importantly, more space to tell New Mexico’s many stories.

  • The Santa Fe New Mexican
    May 22, 2014

    What a great moment for New Mexico!

    Southern New Mexico’s Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks have gained the essential wilderness protection they deserve and the community demanded. 

    President Barack Obama’s decision to declare some 500,000 acres the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will mean protection for archaeological, geological and historical sites (Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail and Geronimo’s Cave), as well as assurance that the open spaces that all species need to survive remains untouched. President Obama made the designation through the 1906 Antiquities Act, cheered on by a diverse group of New Mexicans who have been working to safeguard this wilderness for years.

    New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation worked hard to win the protection, with both Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich proposing legislation that would have shielded the region. With Congress gridlocked, though, initiatives to set aside wilderness and to save our natural legacy for our grandchildren have mostly stalled. That’s why presidential action was essential and Obama’s decision welcome.

    It’s the same method he used to designate the Río Grande del Norte National Monument. New Mexicans are grateful the president acted. Southern New Mexicans, in particular, know that the economic boost from this designation includes 88 new jobs and an estimated $7.4 million a year in direct economic benefit.

    None of this would have happened without an on-the-ground effort by so many people. Hunters, hikers, tribal leaders, business owners, local governments, city and rural residents — all worked to protect the unique land they love. There was some opposition, as is always the case (even Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce only wanted to protect 55,000 acres and called the move a “land grab”). There were scare tactics that the designation would eliminate grazing rights and encourage drug smugglers. Heinrich and others believe the designation will make it easier to for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to patrol the area. There is no reason that a monument should be mean lawlessness.

    For once, the naysayers could not block what is good for the region and state. This is wonderful news for New Mexico.
    Happy Birthday!

    Five years and 500,000-plus visitors ago, the New Mexico History Museum opened its doors, a modern showcase for the heritage of all New Mexicans. The raves haven’t stopped since, and on Sunday the museum is throwing a birthday party to say thank you. There will be a tea party, hands-on fun and old-timey games. (And thanks to La Fonda on the Plaza, the entire day will be free to all comers.)

    The goings on take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Especially fun for kids of all ages will be the debut of a new front-window installation, Toys and Games: A New Mexico Childhood. Today’s plugged in kids will be able to see the treasures of childhood’s past, with wind-up metal toys, marbles, tops, even a Josefina American Girl doll.

    The museum — which opened to a line of visitors stretched down Palace Avenue anxious to get in — complements the state’s original history museum, the Palace of the Governors. That seat of government for Spain’s northern colony, and later, Mexican and U.S. territorial governors, was the first history museum before New Mexico was a state, back in 1909. Adding to it created more exhibition and storage space, and importantly, more space to tell New Mexico’s many stories.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    06/01/2014 

    The clouds were kind to the celebration of our new national monument.

    The celebration was at Oñate, outdoors, so the Organs could watch — and provide a stunning backdrop. Organizers set out chairs for 400 people, and were scurrying around adding more chairs when we arrived.

    It paid to have a hat; but the clouds not only set off the Organs beautifully, making them more vivid than they’d normally be at 2 p.m., but also sent emissaries to shade us; and there was a pleasant breeze.

    Two dozen protesters stood at the entrance. They complained, among other things, that the proclamation ignored public sentiment in Doña Ana County. Since repeated polls (and my own less scientific inquiries) had shown a huge majority of respondents favored the monument, I wondered about that.

    I stopped to ask a couple of protesters: “500 people in there, 25 out here — how can you say there’s a big majority against this?” Someone answered, “It only takes one!”

    That’s a reasonable answer to some questions. In my youth, I was in far lonelier minorities advocating civil rights in the South and opposing the Vietnam war in the North. I was probably in the minority thinking the Iraq War would turn out as it has.

    But to a question about the monument proposal’s popularity, her answer didn’t cut it. (The presence of other vehicles behind mine precluded a follow-up question.) I’m not sure what all the protesters’ objections were, but: the monument had the support of a large majority here; and I haven’t heard of anything illegal about Obama using the Antiquities Act to get this done, as presidents at least back to Hoover have done.

    The ceremony was predictable, but enjoyable. Much passionate but repetitive thanking of everyone. Well-deserved praise for Obama, Bingaman, J. Paul Taylor, and many others. A few kids running around, oblivious to speeches. Most speakers kept it short. Several spoke well.

    Less predictably, but to our great pleasure, Billy Garrett read a Keith Wilson poem, “Bone Knowledge.” Fine poem — and thematically appropriate, about New Mexico and change.

    Like the protesters, I’d have preferred no government involvement. I wish we could keep the Organs pristine, and other parts of the monument protected, without a bureaucracy. I’ll be irritated if I go somewhere I used to go at will and find it closed.

    But we aren’t such good stewards. Not long ago, our elected representatives let Phillipou build houses higher up in the foothills than they should have. Developers seeking profit or four-wheelers seeking thrills don’t always stop and think about protecting nature.

    There’s a wonderfully green spot just beneath New York State’s Croton Dam, beside a powerful spillway, where I was taken to play as a child. Decades later, we took my dying mother there. As I noticed the signs and barriers preventing us from driving down the old road, a young woman advised me, loudly and snidely, “You can’t drive down there! It’s for pedestrians.” I’d have enjoyed driving the car over her, but those barriers served a purpose. With increased population, continuing to allow folks to drive in there would have trashed the place.

    Highlights of the monument celebration included Friar Vince capping it off by singing a few lines of a song in Spanish; a kid from Tortugas, in native dress, racing around near us; and getting to mill around afterward having talking with folks I don’t get to see often, including one I hadn’t seen for 40 years.

    As we drove home we could see rain to the west of us. Later it passed over, sprinkled just enough to create that rain-in-the-desert after-scent, and granting us a great lightning show accompanied by thunder that sent the cat into hiding but brought out a sand-colored toad. (This column will not claim the rain and thunder signified Divine approval of the monument; but maybe it was nature tipping her cap to the folks who’d worked so hard on this thing.)

    That night we watched a soul-music concert televised from the White House. Enjoying it, and watching the Obamas enjoy it, I wondered if some folks were muttering to themselves about Barbarians taking over the White House.

    The next morning we served as witnesses at a wedding. A shy young couple, both serving in the military, taking the plunge — as they could not legally have done in the state where they live.

    I’m pessimistic about human greed, climate weirdness, dying oceans, shrinking glaciers, GMO’s, and war; but I appreciate: an urbane, good-hearted, capable president; progress toward letting loving same-sex couples express their love in marriage; and some protection for our marvelous Organs.

    As I told Father Vince after the ceremony, I once climbed to the top of the Organs. I realized it was July 4th when we spotted fireworks over Las Cruces. Grand, I’m sure; but from where I stood, they were a reminder of how insignificant our accomplishments are in the greater scheme of things.

    Doña Ana County resident Peter Goodman writes, shoots pictures, and sometimes practices law. He blogs at www.soledadcanyon.blogspot.com

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    06/01/2014 

    The clouds were kind to the celebration of our new national monument.

    The celebration was at Oñate, outdoors, so the Organs could watch — and provide a stunning backdrop. Organizers set out chairs for 400 people, and were scurrying around adding more chairs when we arrived.

    It paid to have a hat; but the clouds not only set off the Organs beautifully, making them more vivid than they’d normally be at 2 p.m., but also sent emissaries to shade us; and there was a pleasant breeze.

    Two dozen protesters stood at the entrance. They complained, among other things, that the proclamation ignored public sentiment in Doña Ana County. Since repeated polls (and my own less scientific inquiries) had shown a huge majority of respondents favored the monument, I wondered about that.

    I stopped to ask a couple of protesters: “500 people in there, 25 out here — how can you say there’s a big majority against this?” Someone answered, “It only takes one!”

    That’s a reasonable answer to some questions. In my youth, I was in far lonelier minorities advocating civil rights in the South and opposing the Vietnam war in the North. I was probably in the minority thinking the Iraq War would turn out as it has.

    But to a question about the monument proposal’s popularity, her answer didn’t cut it. (The presence of other vehicles behind mine precluded a follow-up question.) I’m not sure what all the protesters’ objections were, but: the monument had the support of a large majority here; and I haven’t heard of anything illegal about Obama using the Antiquities Act to get this done, as presidents at least back to Hoover have done.

    The ceremony was predictable, but enjoyable. Much passionate but repetitive thanking of everyone. Well-deserved praise for Obama, Bingaman, J. Paul Taylor, and many others. A few kids running around, oblivious to speeches. Most speakers kept it short. Several spoke well.

    Less predictably, but to our great pleasure, Billy Garrett read a Keith Wilson poem, “Bone Knowledge.” Fine poem — and thematically appropriate, about New Mexico and change.

    Like the protesters, I’d have preferred no government involvement. I wish we could keep the Organs pristine, and other parts of the monument protected, without a bureaucracy. I’ll be irritated if I go somewhere I used to go at will and find it closed.

    But we aren’t such good stewards. Not long ago, our elected representatives let Phillipou build houses higher up in the foothills than they should have. Developers seeking profit or four-wheelers seeking thrills don’t always stop and think about protecting nature.

    There’s a wonderfully green spot just beneath New York State’s Croton Dam, beside a powerful spillway, where I was taken to play as a child. Decades later, we took my dying mother there. As I noticed the signs and barriers preventing us from driving down the old road, a young woman advised me, loudly and snidely, “You can’t drive down there! It’s for pedestrians.” I’d have enjoyed driving the car over her, but those barriers served a purpose. With increased population, continuing to allow folks to drive in there would have trashed the place.

    Highlights of the monument celebration included Friar Vince capping it off by singing a few lines of a song in Spanish; a kid from Tortugas, in native dress, racing around near us; and getting to mill around afterward having talking with folks I don’t get to see often, including one I hadn’t seen for 40 years.

    As we drove home we could see rain to the west of us. Later it passed over, sprinkled just enough to create that rain-in-the-desert after-scent, and granting us a great lightning show accompanied by thunder that sent the cat into hiding but brought out a sand-colored toad. (This column will not claim the rain and thunder signified Divine approval of the monument; but maybe it was nature tipping her cap to the folks who’d worked so hard on this thing.)

    That night we watched a soul-music concert televised from the White House. Enjoying it, and watching the Obamas enjoy it, I wondered if some folks were muttering to themselves about Barbarians taking over the White House.

    The next morning we served as witnesses at a wedding. A shy young couple, both serving in the military, taking the plunge — as they could not legally have done in the state where they live.

    I’m pessimistic about human greed, climate weirdness, dying oceans, shrinking glaciers, GMO’s, and war; but I appreciate: an urbane, good-hearted, capable president; progress toward letting loving same-sex couples express their love in marriage; and some protection for our marvelous Organs.

    As I told Father Vince after the ceremony, I once climbed to the top of the Organs. I realized it was July 4th when we spotted fireworks over Las Cruces. Grand, I’m sure; but from where I stood, they were a reminder of how insignificant our accomplishments are in the greater scheme of things.

    Doña Ana County resident Peter Goodman writes, shoots pictures, and sometimes practices law. He blogs at www.soledadcanyon.blogspot.com

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    06/01/2014 

    The clouds were kind to the celebration of our new national monument.

    The celebration was at Oñate, outdoors, so the Organs could watch — and provide a stunning backdrop. Organizers set out chairs for 400 people, and were scurrying around adding more chairs when we arrived.

    It paid to have a hat; but the clouds not only set off the Organs beautifully, making them more vivid than they’d normally be at 2 p.m., but also sent emissaries to shade us; and there was a pleasant breeze.

    Two dozen protesters stood at the entrance. They complained, among other things, that the proclamation ignored public sentiment in Doña Ana County. Since repeated polls (and my own less scientific inquiries) had shown a huge majority of respondents favored the monument, I wondered about that.

    I stopped to ask a couple of protesters: “500 people in there, 25 out here — how can you say there’s a big majority against this?” Someone answered, “It only takes one!”

    That’s a reasonable answer to some questions. In my youth, I was in far lonelier minorities advocating civil rights in the South and opposing the Vietnam war in the North. I was probably in the minority thinking the Iraq War would turn out as it has.

    But to a question about the monument proposal’s popularity, her answer didn’t cut it. (The presence of other vehicles behind mine precluded a follow-up question.) I’m not sure what all the protesters’ objections were, but: the monument had the support of a large majority here; and I haven’t heard of anything illegal about Obama using the Antiquities Act to get this done, as presidents at least back to Hoover have done.

    The ceremony was predictable, but enjoyable. Much passionate but repetitive thanking of everyone. Well-deserved praise for Obama, Bingaman, J. Paul Taylor, and many others. A few kids running around, oblivious to speeches. Most speakers kept it short. Several spoke well.

    Less predictably, but to our great pleasure, Billy Garrett read a Keith Wilson poem, “Bone Knowledge.” Fine poem — and thematically appropriate, about New Mexico and change.

    Like the protesters, I’d have preferred no government involvement. I wish we could keep the Organs pristine, and other parts of the monument protected, without a bureaucracy. I’ll be irritated if I go somewhere I used to go at will and find it closed.

    But we aren’t such good stewards. Not long ago, our elected representatives let Phillipou build houses higher up in the foothills than they should have. Developers seeking profit or four-wheelers seeking thrills don’t always stop and think about protecting nature.

    There’s a wonderfully green spot just beneath New York State’s Croton Dam, beside a powerful spillway, where I was taken to play as a child. Decades later, we took my dying mother there. As I noticed the signs and barriers preventing us from driving down the old road, a young woman advised me, loudly and snidely, “You can’t drive down there! It’s for pedestrians.” I’d have enjoyed driving the car over her, but those barriers served a purpose. With increased population, continuing to allow folks to drive in there would have trashed the place.

    Highlights of the monument celebration included Friar Vince capping it off by singing a few lines of a song in Spanish; a kid from Tortugas, in native dress, racing around near us; and getting to mill around afterward having talking with folks I don’t get to see often, including one I hadn’t seen for 40 years.

    As we drove home we could see rain to the west of us. Later it passed over, sprinkled just enough to create that rain-in-the-desert after-scent, and granting us a great lightning show accompanied by thunder that sent the cat into hiding but brought out a sand-colored toad. (This column will not claim the rain and thunder signified Divine approval of the monument; but maybe it was nature tipping her cap to the folks who’d worked so hard on this thing.)

    That night we watched a soul-music concert televised from the White House. Enjoying it, and watching the Obamas enjoy it, I wondered if some folks were muttering to themselves about Barbarians taking over the White House.

    The next morning we served as witnesses at a wedding. A shy young couple, both serving in the military, taking the plunge — as they could not legally have done in the state where they live.

    I’m pessimistic about human greed, climate weirdness, dying oceans, shrinking glaciers, GMO’s, and war; but I appreciate: an urbane, good-hearted, capable president; progress toward letting loving same-sex couples express their love in marriage; and some protection for our marvelous Organs.

    As I told Father Vince after the ceremony, I once climbed to the top of the Organs. I realized it was July 4th when we spotted fireworks over Las Cruces. Grand, I’m sure; but from where I stood, they were a reminder of how insignificant our accomplishments are in the greater scheme of things.

    Doña Ana County resident Peter Goodman writes, shoots pictures, and sometimes practices law. He blogs at www.soledadcanyon.blogspot.com

  • Phil Taylor, E&E reporter
    January 23, 2014

    A strong majority of voters in Doña Ana County, N.M., support the designation of a national monument to protect the Organ Mountains and surrounding landmarks and archaeological sites along the Mexican border, according to a new poll commissioned by a veterans group.

    The poll also found that 60 percent of voters favor a bill by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to protect roughly half a million acres in Doña Ana, compared to 24 percent who favor a bill by Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) to protect about 55,000 acres.

    Also this week, the Truman National Security Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that trains young national security leaders and also promotes clean energy, said it backs the monument, saying it would preserve important military heritage sites and increase operational flexibility for the U.S. Border Patrol.

    Overall, nearly three-fourths of Doña Ana voters said they favor a monument to protect landmarks including the Butterfield stagecoach trail, Apollo space mission test sites, World War II-era bombing targets, Geronimo’s Cave and hundreds of other archaeological sites, as well as other natural areas surrounding Las Cruces, according to the poll commissioned by Vet Voice Foundation.

    The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit advocates for veterans on issues including clean energy and the protection of public lands.

    The poll was released days before Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to visit Doña Ana with Udall and Heinrich to discuss “the community’s vision to preserve, protect and enhance” its public lands, a move many view as momentum toward a presidential monument designation.

    An Organ Mountains designation would likely be Obama’s largest national monument to date.

    The poll was conducted last week by GBA Strategies of Washington, D.C., and interviewed 400 Doña Ana residents by land line and cellphone. It has a margin of error of 4.9 points.

    “Historic and beautiful places like the Organ, Robledo and Potrillo mountains are a crucial part of the America our service members are fighting for,” said Mark Starr, program director for Vet Voice, in a statement. “I would say protecting our public lands heritage is one of the most patriotic things we can do.”
    The poll found that 84 percent of Democrats support the monument, compared with 50 percent of Republicans. More than four in five Hispanics support the monument, with 10 percent opposed.

    “Importantly, the majority in Doña Ana County prefers the more extensive protections provided by creating the comprehensive Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument over a more limited proposal,” the poll memo states. “This competing proposal, introduced by Congressman Steve Pearce, would create a pared down national monument that leaves out several areas.”

    Doña Ana went for President Obama in the 2012 general election, favoring him over Mitt Romney by a 56 percent to 41 percent margin.

    Pearce spokesman Eric Layer called the poll a “farce … constructed entirely around partisan politics.”

    “It links one opinion to Democrats in a heavily Democrat county, instead of covering the actual proposals of the bill,” Layer said. “Mr. Pearce will continue to work on the issue based on substance, not politics.”

    Pearce remains opposed to calls by Udall, Heinrich and former Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) for Obama to designate the monument under the Antiquities Act, arguing Congress should make that decision.

    “Proposals to protect the Organs have been proceeding just as they should: with input from the people through the legislative process,” Layer said. “Congressman Pearce’s office is in communication with the offices of Senators Heinrich and Udall, and our office hopes Secretary Jewell understands that this is a decision that needs to be made in New Mexico, by New Mexicans, not outside the legislative process.”

    The 112th Congress failed to pass a bill by Bingaman to protect the Organ Mountains or any other bill elevating protections for public lands. If that continues in the 113th Congress, Jewell said Obama will use his executive powers.

    Michael Breen, executive director of the Truman National Security Project, said the Udall-Heinrich bill would allow the Border Patrol to expand surveillance, pursuit and patrol along the border, while creating an expanded buffer zone for Border Patrol and other law enforcement.

    He lauded the bill for protecting top-secret bombing target sites he argued helped shorten World War II.

    “As a former U.S. Army Captain, I believe it is important to protect this area so that future generations will remember the events that took place during a critical time in our nation’s military history,” he wrote in a Tuesday letter to Jewell, urging her to work with Obama to protect the area.

    A broad coalition of conservationists, sportsmen, Hispanic and faith-based groups, and businesses are also lobbying Obama to designate the Organ Mountains monument — while some Republican lawmakers are urging the president to defer to Congress.

    Monument backers include the Doña Ana County Commission; the cities of Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso, Texas; and the New Mexico and Las Cruces green chambers of commerce, but it is opposed by some ranchers and sheriffs along the Southwest border who fear it would hamper efforts to maintain public safety.

  • Phil Taylor, E&E reporter
    January 23, 2014

    A strong majority of voters in Doña Ana County, N.M., support the designation of a national monument to protect the Organ Mountains and surrounding landmarks and archaeological sites along the Mexican border, according to a new poll commissioned by a veterans group.

    The poll also found that 60 percent of voters favor a bill by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to protect roughly half a million acres in Doña Ana, compared to 24 percent who favor a bill by Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) to protect about 55,000 acres.

    Also this week, the Truman National Security Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that trains young national security leaders and also promotes clean energy, said it backs the monument, saying it would preserve important military heritage sites and increase operational flexibility for the U.S. Border Patrol.

    Overall, nearly three-fourths of Doña Ana voters said they favor a monument to protect landmarks including the Butterfield stagecoach trail, Apollo space mission test sites, World War II-era bombing targets, Geronimo’s Cave and hundreds of other archaeological sites, as well as other natural areas surrounding Las Cruces, according to the poll commissioned by Vet Voice Foundation.

    The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit advocates for veterans on issues including clean energy and the protection of public lands.

    The poll was released days before Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to visit Doña Ana with Udall and Heinrich to discuss “the community’s vision to preserve, protect and enhance” its public lands, a move many view as momentum toward a presidential monument designation.

    An Organ Mountains designation would likely be Obama’s largest national monument to date.

    The poll was conducted last week by GBA Strategies of Washington, D.C., and interviewed 400 Doña Ana residents by land line and cellphone. It has a margin of error of 4.9 points.

    “Historic and beautiful places like the Organ, Robledo and Potrillo mountains are a crucial part of the America our service members are fighting for,” said Mark Starr, program director for Vet Voice, in a statement. “I would say protecting our public lands heritage is one of the most patriotic things we can do.”
    The poll found that 84 percent of Democrats support the monument, compared with 50 percent of Republicans. More than four in five Hispanics support the monument, with 10 percent opposed.

    “Importantly, the majority in Doña Ana County prefers the more extensive protections provided by creating the comprehensive Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument over a more limited proposal,” the poll memo states. “This competing proposal, introduced by Congressman Steve Pearce, would create a pared down national monument that leaves out several areas.”

    Doña Ana went for President Obama in the 2012 general election, favoring him over Mitt Romney by a 56 percent to 41 percent margin.

    Pearce spokesman Eric Layer called the poll a “farce … constructed entirely around partisan politics.”

    “It links one opinion to Democrats in a heavily Democrat county, instead of covering the actual proposals of the bill,” Layer said. “Mr. Pearce will continue to work on the issue based on substance, not politics.”

    Pearce remains opposed to calls by Udall, Heinrich and former Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) for Obama to designate the monument under the Antiquities Act, arguing Congress should make that decision.

    “Proposals to protect the Organs have been proceeding just as they should: with input from the people through the legislative process,” Layer said. “Congressman Pearce’s office is in communication with the offices of Senators Heinrich and Udall, and our office hopes Secretary Jewell understands that this is a decision that needs to be made in New Mexico, by New Mexicans, not outside the legislative process.”

    The 112th Congress failed to pass a bill by Bingaman to protect the Organ Mountains or any other bill elevating protections for public lands. If that continues in the 113th Congress, Jewell said Obama will use his executive powers.

    Michael Breen, executive director of the Truman National Security Project, said the Udall-Heinrich bill would allow the Border Patrol to expand surveillance, pursuit and patrol along the border, while creating an expanded buffer zone for Border Patrol and other law enforcement.

    He lauded the bill for protecting top-secret bombing target sites he argued helped shorten World War II.

    “As a former U.S. Army Captain, I believe it is important to protect this area so that future generations will remember the events that took place during a critical time in our nation’s military history,” he wrote in a Tuesday letter to Jewell, urging her to work with Obama to protect the area.

    A broad coalition of conservationists, sportsmen, Hispanic and faith-based groups, and businesses are also lobbying Obama to designate the Organ Mountains monument — while some Republican lawmakers are urging the president to defer to Congress.

    Monument backers include the Doña Ana County Commission; the cities of Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso, Texas; and the New Mexico and Las Cruces green chambers of commerce, but it is opposed by some ranchers and sheriffs along the Southwest border who fear it would hamper efforts to maintain public safety.

  • Phil Taylor, E&E reporter
    January 23, 2014

    A strong majority of voters in Doña Ana County, N.M., support the designation of a national monument to protect the Organ Mountains and surrounding landmarks and archaeological sites along the Mexican border, according to a new poll commissioned by a veterans group.

    The poll also found that 60 percent of voters favor a bill by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to protect roughly half a million acres in Doña Ana, compared to 24 percent who favor a bill by Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) to protect about 55,000 acres.

    Also this week, the Truman National Security Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that trains young national security leaders and also promotes clean energy, said it backs the monument, saying it would preserve important military heritage sites and increase operational flexibility for the U.S. Border Patrol.

    Overall, nearly three-fourths of Doña Ana voters said they favor a monument to protect landmarks including the Butterfield stagecoach trail, Apollo space mission test sites, World War II-era bombing targets, Geronimo’s Cave and hundreds of other archaeological sites, as well as other natural areas surrounding Las Cruces, according to the poll commissioned by Vet Voice Foundation.

    The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit advocates for veterans on issues including clean energy and the protection of public lands.

    The poll was released days before Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to visit Doña Ana with Udall and Heinrich to discuss “the community’s vision to preserve, protect and enhance” its public lands, a move many view as momentum toward a presidential monument designation.

    An Organ Mountains designation would likely be Obama’s largest national monument to date.

    The poll was conducted last week by GBA Strategies of Washington, D.C., and interviewed 400 Doña Ana residents by land line and cellphone. It has a margin of error of 4.9 points.

    “Historic and beautiful places like the Organ, Robledo and Potrillo mountains are a crucial part of the America our service members are fighting for,” said Mark Starr, program director for Vet Voice, in a statement. “I would say protecting our public lands heritage is one of the most patriotic things we can do.”
    The poll found that 84 percent of Democrats support the monument, compared with 50 percent of Republicans. More than four in five Hispanics support the monument, with 10 percent opposed.

    “Importantly, the majority in Doña Ana County prefers the more extensive protections provided by creating the comprehensive Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument over a more limited proposal,” the poll memo states. “This competing proposal, introduced by Congressman Steve Pearce, would create a pared down national monument that leaves out several areas.”

    Doña Ana went for President Obama in the 2012 general election, favoring him over Mitt Romney by a 56 percent to 41 percent margin.

    Pearce spokesman Eric Layer called the poll a “farce … constructed entirely around partisan politics.”

    “It links one opinion to Democrats in a heavily Democrat county, instead of covering the actual proposals of the bill,” Layer said. “Mr. Pearce will continue to work on the issue based on substance, not politics.”

    Pearce remains opposed to calls by Udall, Heinrich and former Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) for Obama to designate the monument under the Antiquities Act, arguing Congress should make that decision.

    “Proposals to protect the Organs have been proceeding just as they should: with input from the people through the legislative process,” Layer said. “Congressman Pearce’s office is in communication with the offices of Senators Heinrich and Udall, and our office hopes Secretary Jewell understands that this is a decision that needs to be made in New Mexico, by New Mexicans, not outside the legislative process.”

    The 112th Congress failed to pass a bill by Bingaman to protect the Organ Mountains or any other bill elevating protections for public lands. If that continues in the 113th Congress, Jewell said Obama will use his executive powers.

    Michael Breen, executive director of the Truman National Security Project, said the Udall-Heinrich bill would allow the Border Patrol to expand surveillance, pursuit and patrol along the border, while creating an expanded buffer zone for Border Patrol and other law enforcement.

    He lauded the bill for protecting top-secret bombing target sites he argued helped shorten World War II.

    “As a former U.S. Army Captain, I believe it is important to protect this area so that future generations will remember the events that took place during a critical time in our nation’s military history,” he wrote in a Tuesday letter to Jewell, urging her to work with Obama to protect the area.

    A broad coalition of conservationists, sportsmen, Hispanic and faith-based groups, and businesses are also lobbying Obama to designate the Organ Mountains monument — while some Republican lawmakers are urging the president to defer to Congress.

    Monument backers include the Doña Ana County Commission; the cities of Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso, Texas; and the New Mexico and Las Cruces green chambers of commerce, but it is opposed by some ranchers and sheriffs along the Southwest border who fear it would hamper efforts to maintain public safety.

  • BudgetDumpster.com did a profile on the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance’s work. Check it out here.

  • By Chris McKee, KRQE News
    November 10, 2014

    ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s New Mexico’s last untapped, wild river, but the state is considering diverting water out of the Gila and it’s not settling well with everyone.

    The state’s Interstate Stream Commission has to decide by the end of the year if it will divert part of the Gila in order to access Federal funding. While some irrigators believe it’s needed for farms and southern municipalities, environmentalists say it would cost taxpayers millions and do lots of damage to the river.

    “No to the billion dollar boondoggle!” said a crowd of protesters who were rallying against the Gila River diversion on Monday.

    More than 60 protesters chanted outside of the New Mexico Environment Department offices in Northeast Albuquerque on Monday, as the Interstate Stream Commission met inside to discuss the possible Gila project.

    “ISC listen to me, keep the Gila wild and free!” chanted the crowd.

    Many protesters do not want the state to divert water from the Gila. The state is considering the proposal though due to a number of project requests for more water.

    “The southwest region, the ground water supply has been declining roughly 30,000 acre feet annually,” said Scott Verhines, a New Mexico State Engineer.

    Verhines is one of the state’s top officials in charge of water management. He also serves as the secretary for the state’s Interstate Stream Commission, which will ultimate decide on the diversion project.

    The commission has until the end of 2014 to decided whether or not it will go for up to $128-million of federal money for diversion related projects on the Gila.

    The commission is now weighing a list of 15 to 16 projects in the area that could benefit from a diversion project, like the Grant County Reservoir.

    “These proposals were all generated by the local community, these are not proposals that the commission has said ‘you ought to go do these things,’” said Verhines.

    To get water to those projects, the state is considering diverting around 12,000 acre feet of water a year from the Gila River. To do it, the project could potentially add pipeline, storage tanks and new reservoirs off of the Gila.

    In a presentation Monday, one engineering firm hired by the state believes it could cost more than $700 million to build, plus around $3 million a year to operate. Protesters think that’s a waste of money.

    “We don’t have a billion dollars to throw around, we’ve got children’s education to throw around, we’re got conservation projects that are perfectly valid,” said Camilla Feibelman, director of the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club.

    Protesters are also worried about the impact on wildlife.

    “It’s harmful to the Gila river’s ecology and puts in jeopardy the survival of six threatened and endangered species,” said Allyson Siwik, director of the Gila Conservation Coalition.

    State officials said Monday, they’re listening.

    “I’d like to think that all the other commissioners are in the same place, the idea is we want to be an informed commission,” said Verhines.

    Protesters were also upset Monday that the commission didn’t take any public comment. The board says they’re saving that for a Friday meeting in Silver City. The commission could vote on November 24th about whether or not they’ll move forward with the Gila River diversion.

    However, that vote hinges on a lawsuit expected to be heard on Wednesday. A former director of the commission is suing, claiming the Interstate Stream Commission has been violating open meetings laws on the Gila project for years.

  • 2015 10 19 13 12 23

  • By Mark Allison | Posted: Saturday, September 20, 2014 9:00 pm
    Santa Fe New Mexican

    Generalizing public lands protection as a death knell for ranchers is not an accurate representation of the facts regarding Wilderness in America — the online headline was, “50 years later, Wilderness Act divides ranchers and environmentalists,” (“Wilderness Act hits 50-year milestone,” Sept. 3).

    Neither is claiming “environmentalists” and “ranchers” are irrevocably divided due to the passing of the Wilderness Act in America 50 years ago. The Wilderness Act anniversary story is much more interesting and nuanced than that.

    Ranchers, scientists, sportsmen and citizen conservationists are not divided in their love of the land. And we’re not destined to be divided about wise land use. The Wilderness Act laid down principles of protection for very special public lands because Americans cared about their survivability in a modern and complex world.

    As I meet with people across our beautiful state, I hear much more that unites us as New Mexicans than divides us. I hear people express their love of the land, the obligation to be good stewards of our natural heritage and the desire to preserve a way of life for our children. I also hear concerns about jobs and the economy, and values such as freedom and access.

    We might not always define these issues identically, but virtually without exception I hear agreement that there are certain places that are so special that they deserve to be permanently protected. With about 2 percent of our state designated as wilderness and a number of roadless areas of wilderness quality lands under threat of being lost forever, we will continue to fight for their protection.

    But instead of allowing ourselves to be divided by sensational headlines or used by certain elected officials who gin up anger and fear with misrepresentations, we at the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance are willing to sit down with anyone at any time to listen, to share our views and to find those areas where we have both literal and figurative common ground as neighbors and as proud New Mexicans.

    Mark Allison is the executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild), a statewide grass-roots advocacy organization dedicated to protecting New Mexico’s threatened wilderness areas. NM Wild has thousands of members throughout New Mexico and staff based in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Mora, Las Cruces and Silver City.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News report
    07/18/2014 

    LAS CRUCES >> Visitors to New Mexico’s national parks and monuments in 2013 spent about $83.2 million dollars and supported 1,136 jobs, according to a new National Park Service report.

    Sue Masica, director of the NPS’s Intermountain Region, said in a news release that the report highlights the importance of national park tourism in the New Mexico and national economies.

    In New Mexico, more than 1.5 million visitors spent time at national parks in 2013, an increase of 0.65 percent over the previous year. Visitor spending increased by 2.59 percent and the amount of jobs supported by tourism increased 1.16 percent from 2012.

    According to the report, most park spending was for lodging (30.3 percent), food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent) and admissions and fees (10.3 percent). Souvenirs and other expenses accounted for the remaining 10 percent.

    According to www.nps.gov/newmexico, New Mexico has one national park (Carlsbad Caverns), 10 national monuments (including White Sands) and more than 50 other national trails, areas, landmarks and historical parks.

    In May, President Barack Obama formally designated nearly half a million acres of land in Doña Ana County as Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News report
    07/18/2014 

    LAS CRUCES >> Visitors to New Mexico’s national parks and monuments in 2013 spent about $83.2 million dollars and supported 1,136 jobs, according to a new National Park Service report.

    Sue Masica, director of the NPS’s Intermountain Region, said in a news release that the report highlights the importance of national park tourism in the New Mexico and national economies.

    In New Mexico, more than 1.5 million visitors spent time at national parks in 2013, an increase of 0.65 percent over the previous year. Visitor spending increased by 2.59 percent and the amount of jobs supported by tourism increased 1.16 percent from 2012.

    According to the report, most park spending was for lodging (30.3 percent), food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent) and admissions and fees (10.3 percent). Souvenirs and other expenses accounted for the remaining 10 percent.

    According to www.nps.gov/newmexico, New Mexico has one national park (Carlsbad Caverns), 10 national monuments (including White Sands) and more than 50 other national trails, areas, landmarks and historical parks.

    In May, President Barack Obama formally designated nearly half a million acres of land in Doña Ana County as Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

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