NMW Logo 20th CMYK tight crop

2014

  • This afternoon NM Wild Southern Director Jeff Steinborn, Community Organizer Nathan Small, Hispanic Organizer Angel Pena, and board members Roberta Salazar and David Soules will join President Obama for the signing ceremony of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    A live stream of the event is available here. It will start at 2 p.m. MDT: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    Join us for a celebration Friday

    There will be a celebration on Friday. The event will tentatively take place from 2-4 p.m. at Oñate High School in Las Cruces. We’ll send more details as we get them. Note: Because of the celebration Friday, our invasive plant workshop in Albuquerque on Saturday will be postponed to a later date.

  • This afternoon NM Wild Southern Director Jeff Steinborn, Community Organizer Nathan Small, Hispanic Organizer Angel Pena, and board members Roberta Salazar and David Soules will join President Obama for the signing ceremony of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    A live stream of the event is available here. It will start at 2 p.m. MDT: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    Join us for a celebration Friday

    There will be a celebration on Friday. The event will tentatively take place from 2-4 p.m. at Oñate High School in Las Cruces. We’ll send more details as we get them. Note: Because of the celebration Friday, our invasive plant workshop in Albuquerque on Saturday will be postponed to a later date.

  • This afternoon NM Wild Southern Director Jeff Steinborn, Community Organizer Nathan Small, Hispanic Organizer Angel Pena, and board members Roberta Salazar and David Soules will join President Obama for the signing ceremony of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    A live stream of the event is available here. It will start at 2 p.m. MDT: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    Join us for a celebration Friday

    There will be a celebration on Friday. The event will tentatively take place from 2-4 p.m. at Oñate High School in Las Cruces. We’ll send more details as we get them. Note: Because of the celebration Friday, our invasive plant workshop in Albuquerque on Saturday will be postponed to a later date.

  • Join us at the Round House to protect a free-flowing Gila River

    This is the last chance to let our legislators know that New Mexicans want the Gila River protected forever!
     
    Gila box ncaThe Gila River is New Mexico’s last free-flowing river. Originating in America’s first wilderness, the Gila is rich in biological diversity and cultural history. In 2004, Congress passed the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) that authorized diversion of the Gila River if New Mexico agreed to buy water from Arizona to replace what we take out of the river. A Gila River diversion project is unnecessary, expensive and will harm the Gila River.
     
    Senate Bill 89 aims to focus available federal dollars under the Arizona Water Settlements Act on conservation measures instead of a costly Gila River diversion. This forward-thinking bill will be heard on Thursday, February 13, at 2:30 p.m. by the Senate Conservation Committee. Senate Bill 89 will help fund long-term sustainable ways to meet our future water demands while ensuring the economic benefits from tourism and outdoor recreation along New Mexico’s last free-flowing river.
     
    Please join us in showing support for this forward-thinking bill and stand strong with your fellow New Mexicans who oppose diverting the free-flowing Gila River! Let’s pack the Round House in Santa Fe!
     
    Thank you for your support and we hope to see you there Thursday,
  • By Sandra Noll and Erv Nichols

    Have you ever imagined climbing into a machine, spinning some dials and transporting yourself into the past? Most people have thought of time travel but, in a proposed wilderness area near Las Cruces, it seemed real to us.

    Hearing about legislation to designate sections of BLM lands near Las Cruces as a national monument we decided to take a look; a friend familiar with the area was our guide. We drove about 45 minutes from town, first west paralleling I-10 then north on a paved road through grassland, parked the car and hiked up a foothill of the Sierra de las Uvas. We walked slowly up the hillside covered with volcanic rock and thin soil supporting a sparse growth of scrub grass, creosote, mesquite and a few cacti. Stepping over tiny ground plants with purple flowers we thought about how it would look in spring when Ocatillo, prickly pear and yucca bloom.

    At the top of the hill we seemed transported hundreds of years back in time. Turning full circle, all we could see was miles of grassland dotted with low hills, a few remnants of volcanic cones, and mountains – jagged Organ Peaks to the east, rugged Potrillo Mts. to the south, Florida Mts. far to the west beyond Deming and more of the Uvas to our north. Other than an occasional jet far overhead, the 21st century had vanished. Las Cruces lay invisibly tucked into the Rio Grande valley, I-10 was obscured by hills and grasslands and Deming could not be seen. We were transported to a time before humans had made a mark upon the land.

    One could imagine being a far-ranging Pronghorn or one of the First People pausing to scan the horizon while following deer sign; a soldier trudging endless miles behind a mounted Spanish explorer; a prospector headed into the mountains to try his luck; a bandit lying in wait for the Butterfield stage or a cowhand rounding up strays in an unfenced land. It’s hard to describe the impact of the uninterrupted miles of open land and the silence. We were tiny specks on the landscape yet intimately connected to everything.

    And the overlook was just the beginning. Returning to the car we drove a bit further then hiked a dirt track from a cattle tank into Valles Canyon. Cattle and tanks would remain. Existing grazing leases and hunting rights that have been part of BLM-managed lands continue under monument status but the land would be protected from commercial development.

    Leaving the dirt track we continued down a dry arroyo which deepened with rock walls rising on either side. Scrambling down what must be a beautiful waterfall in monsoon season we came upon a steep wall with 50 or more petroglyphs.

    The time machine took us back to the age of hunter-gatherers. Having no written language, they pecked and scratched images into the hard stone – abstract circular and geometric shapes as well as animals, fish, birds and human hands. 

    What did they mean? Were they prayers for a successful hunt or for the fertility of animals their lives depended on? Was it a record of their journey or part of a ceremony? Mystery is inherent in wild places.

    The canyon beckoned on but it was time to turn back. A day outdoors, silence, uninterrupted vistas and signs of prehistoric man’s passing had worked together
    to delight our senses, stimulate our imaginations and refresh us. The unique character of this place seems well worth preserving. New Mexico is a “land of
    enchantment” for many reasons, one of which, we discovered, is time travel!

  • By Sandra Noll and Erv Nichols

    Have you ever imagined climbing into a machine, spinning some dials and transporting yourself into the past? Most people have thought of time travel but, in a proposed wilderness area near Las Cruces, it seemed real to us.

    Hearing about legislation to designate sections of BLM lands near Las Cruces as a national monument we decided to take a look; a friend familiar with the area was our guide. We drove about 45 minutes from town, first west paralleling I-10 then north on a paved road through grassland, parked the car and hiked up a foothill of the Sierra de las Uvas. We walked slowly up the hillside covered with volcanic rock and thin soil supporting a sparse growth of scrub grass, creosote, mesquite and a few cacti. Stepping over tiny ground plants with purple flowers we thought about how it would look in spring when Ocatillo, prickly pear and yucca bloom.

    At the top of the hill we seemed transported hundreds of years back in time. Turning full circle, all we could see was miles of grassland dotted with low hills, a few remnants of volcanic cones, and mountains – jagged Organ Peaks to the east, rugged Potrillo Mts. to the south, Florida Mts. far to the west beyond Deming and more of the Uvas to our north. Other than an occasional jet far overhead, the 21st century had vanished. Las Cruces lay invisibly tucked into the Rio Grande valley, I-10 was obscured by hills and grasslands and Deming could not be seen. We were transported to a time before humans had made a mark upon the land.

    One could imagine being a far-ranging Pronghorn or one of the First People pausing to scan the horizon while following deer sign; a soldier trudging endless miles behind a mounted Spanish explorer; a prospector headed into the mountains to try his luck; a bandit lying in wait for the Butterfield stage or a cowhand rounding up strays in an unfenced land. It’s hard to describe the impact of the uninterrupted miles of open land and the silence. We were tiny specks on the landscape yet intimately connected to everything.

    And the overlook was just the beginning. Returning to the car we drove a bit further then hiked a dirt track from a cattle tank into Valles Canyon. Cattle and tanks would remain. Existing grazing leases and hunting rights that have been part of BLM-managed lands continue under monument status but the land would be protected from commercial development.

    Leaving the dirt track we continued down a dry arroyo which deepened with rock walls rising on either side. Scrambling down what must be a beautiful waterfall in monsoon season we came upon a steep wall with 50 or more petroglyphs.

    The time machine took us back to the age of hunter-gatherers. Having no written language, they pecked and scratched images into the hard stone – abstract circular and geometric shapes as well as animals, fish, birds and human hands. 

    What did they mean? Were they prayers for a successful hunt or for the fertility of animals their lives depended on? Was it a record of their journey or part of a ceremony? Mystery is inherent in wild places.

    The canyon beckoned on but it was time to turn back. A day outdoors, silence, uninterrupted vistas and signs of prehistoric man’s passing had worked together
    to delight our senses, stimulate our imaginations and refresh us. The unique character of this place seems well worth preserving. New Mexico is a “land of
    enchantment” for many reasons, one of which, we discovered, is time travel!

  • By Sandra Noll and Erv Nichols

    Have you ever imagined climbing into a machine, spinning some dials and transporting yourself into the past? Most people have thought of time travel but, in a proposed wilderness area near Las Cruces, it seemed real to us.

    Hearing about legislation to designate sections of BLM lands near Las Cruces as a national monument we decided to take a look; a friend familiar with the area was our guide. We drove about 45 minutes from town, first west paralleling I-10 then north on a paved road through grassland, parked the car and hiked up a foothill of the Sierra de las Uvas. We walked slowly up the hillside covered with volcanic rock and thin soil supporting a sparse growth of scrub grass, creosote, mesquite and a few cacti. Stepping over tiny ground plants with purple flowers we thought about how it would look in spring when Ocatillo, prickly pear and yucca bloom.

    At the top of the hill we seemed transported hundreds of years back in time. Turning full circle, all we could see was miles of grassland dotted with low hills, a few remnants of volcanic cones, and mountains – jagged Organ Peaks to the east, rugged Potrillo Mts. to the south, Florida Mts. far to the west beyond Deming and more of the Uvas to our north. Other than an occasional jet far overhead, the 21st century had vanished. Las Cruces lay invisibly tucked into the Rio Grande valley, I-10 was obscured by hills and grasslands and Deming could not be seen. We were transported to a time before humans had made a mark upon the land.

    One could imagine being a far-ranging Pronghorn or one of the First People pausing to scan the horizon while following deer sign; a soldier trudging endless miles behind a mounted Spanish explorer; a prospector headed into the mountains to try his luck; a bandit lying in wait for the Butterfield stage or a cowhand rounding up strays in an unfenced land. It’s hard to describe the impact of the uninterrupted miles of open land and the silence. We were tiny specks on the landscape yet intimately connected to everything.

    And the overlook was just the beginning. Returning to the car we drove a bit further then hiked a dirt track from a cattle tank into Valles Canyon. Cattle and tanks would remain. Existing grazing leases and hunting rights that have been part of BLM-managed lands continue under monument status but the land would be protected from commercial development.

    Leaving the dirt track we continued down a dry arroyo which deepened with rock walls rising on either side. Scrambling down what must be a beautiful waterfall in monsoon season we came upon a steep wall with 50 or more petroglyphs.

    The time machine took us back to the age of hunter-gatherers. Having no written language, they pecked and scratched images into the hard stone – abstract circular and geometric shapes as well as animals, fish, birds and human hands. 

    What did they mean? Were they prayers for a successful hunt or for the fertility of animals their lives depended on? Was it a record of their journey or part of a ceremony? Mystery is inherent in wild places.

    The canyon beckoned on but it was time to turn back. A day outdoors, silence, uninterrupted vistas and signs of prehistoric man’s passing had worked together
    to delight our senses, stimulate our imaginations and refresh us. The unique character of this place seems well worth preserving. New Mexico is a “land of
    enchantment” for many reasons, one of which, we discovered, is time travel!

  • By Carol Fugagli / Cliff Resident
    PUBLISHED: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Albuquerque Journal

    My family lives in Mexican gray wolf country along the banks of the upper Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley, three miles from the southern edge of the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico. We live simply, on a small milk-goat farm, growing most of our own food and selling, what we can, to our neighbors.

    Our orchards and gardens are filled with free-ranging chickens, turkeys and ducks; and our hearts are filled with gratitude both for the lives we lead and the larger complex of life that surrounds and sustains us.

    My son, Hawk, is home-schooled and we spend a lot of time outdoors.

    When Hawk was 4, we went camping in the Gila wilderness. We got lucky.

    Lying in our sleeping bags after dark, we both heard our first wolf.

    “What’s that mama?” he asked, a little nervously.

    “That’s life,” I thought. “That is life howling at the moon at the cutting edge of time. That, my dear child, is the opposite of nothingness. That is the antithesis of death. That is the deep past and the unknowable future held together by muscle and sinew and desire.”

    “It’s a wolf,” I finally said, “and you are very lucky to hear one.”

    “But aren’t you afraid,” he asked?

    “No,” I said. “I’m not afraid of the wolf, or of mountain lions, or bears, or lightning, or poison ivy. But what I am afraid of is that the wolf that we just heard could be shot. I’m afraid that I will never hear that sound again. I’m afraid that the rivers will be dammed and the soil will be lost and that too many species of birds will disappear forever.

    “I’m afraid that my neighbor’s hearts are too small. I’m afraid that most people have forgotten who and what they are. I’m afraid that you will grow up without knowing beauty or wonder.”

    Well, OK, maybe I didn’t say all that, but he got the message.

    He’s not afraid of wolves. Sweet boy, at 10 years old, he’s not even afraid of the future – at least not yet.

    “The great terror of our age,” wrote Loren Eiseley, “is our own conception of ourselves.” Yes, I care about wolves, but I care about my son even more, and I want him to know that the human heart is large, that our species is special because we get to choose who and what we are, that narrow self-interest, hatred and fear doesn’t have to define the human character, that the Endangered Species Act is not only about recovering the Mexican gray wolf, it’s also about recovering ourselves.

    I understand that it’s hard sometimes to give the wolf or other listed species a free pass, especially when livelihoods are believed to be at stake.

    But for me, the Endangered Species Act remains a sacred trust between my family and my government guaranteeing us that the diversity of life contained within our national boundaries will not be diminished by human agency.

    The protections that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could and should and must provide the Mexican gray wolf on its long road to full recovery is the people’s business. It’s my business.

    They are working for me, and for Hawk, and for millions of other Americans who not only want a future filled with wolf song, but demand it under the law.

    The Endangered Species Act is not the jack boot of big government. The Endangered Species Act is me. The jack boots are mine. I’m one who wants the world to stay alive.

    I want Hawk to know beauty and wonder.

    I am not afraid of wolves. But I am so very afraid of a future without them.

  • By Carol Fugagli / Cliff Resident
    PUBLISHED: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Albuquerque Journal

    My family lives in Mexican gray wolf country along the banks of the upper Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley, three miles from the southern edge of the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico. We live simply, on a small milk-goat farm, growing most of our own food and selling, what we can, to our neighbors.

    Our orchards and gardens are filled with free-ranging chickens, turkeys and ducks; and our hearts are filled with gratitude both for the lives we lead and the larger complex of life that surrounds and sustains us.

    My son, Hawk, is home-schooled and we spend a lot of time outdoors.

    When Hawk was 4, we went camping in the Gila wilderness. We got lucky.

    Lying in our sleeping bags after dark, we both heard our first wolf.

    “What’s that mama?” he asked, a little nervously.

    “That’s life,” I thought. “That is life howling at the moon at the cutting edge of time. That, my dear child, is the opposite of nothingness. That is the antithesis of death. That is the deep past and the unknowable future held together by muscle and sinew and desire.”

    “It’s a wolf,” I finally said, “and you are very lucky to hear one.”

    “But aren’t you afraid,” he asked?

    “No,” I said. “I’m not afraid of the wolf, or of mountain lions, or bears, or lightning, or poison ivy. But what I am afraid of is that the wolf that we just heard could be shot. I’m afraid that I will never hear that sound again. I’m afraid that the rivers will be dammed and the soil will be lost and that too many species of birds will disappear forever.

    “I’m afraid that my neighbor’s hearts are too small. I’m afraid that most people have forgotten who and what they are. I’m afraid that you will grow up without knowing beauty or wonder.”

    Well, OK, maybe I didn’t say all that, but he got the message.

    He’s not afraid of wolves. Sweet boy, at 10 years old, he’s not even afraid of the future – at least not yet.

    “The great terror of our age,” wrote Loren Eiseley, “is our own conception of ourselves.” Yes, I care about wolves, but I care about my son even more, and I want him to know that the human heart is large, that our species is special because we get to choose who and what we are, that narrow self-interest, hatred and fear doesn’t have to define the human character, that the Endangered Species Act is not only about recovering the Mexican gray wolf, it’s also about recovering ourselves.

    I understand that it’s hard sometimes to give the wolf or other listed species a free pass, especially when livelihoods are believed to be at stake.

    But for me, the Endangered Species Act remains a sacred trust between my family and my government guaranteeing us that the diversity of life contained within our national boundaries will not be diminished by human agency.

    The protections that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could and should and must provide the Mexican gray wolf on its long road to full recovery is the people’s business. It’s my business.

    They are working for me, and for Hawk, and for millions of other Americans who not only want a future filled with wolf song, but demand it under the law.

    The Endangered Species Act is not the jack boot of big government. The Endangered Species Act is me. The jack boots are mine. I’m one who wants the world to stay alive.

    I want Hawk to know beauty and wonder.

    I am not afraid of wolves. But I am so very afraid of a future without them.

  • By Carol Fugagli / Cliff Resident
    PUBLISHED: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Albuquerque Journal

    My family lives in Mexican gray wolf country along the banks of the upper Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley, three miles from the southern edge of the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico. We live simply, on a small milk-goat farm, growing most of our own food and selling, what we can, to our neighbors.

    Our orchards and gardens are filled with free-ranging chickens, turkeys and ducks; and our hearts are filled with gratitude both for the lives we lead and the larger complex of life that surrounds and sustains us.

    My son, Hawk, is home-schooled and we spend a lot of time outdoors.

    When Hawk was 4, we went camping in the Gila wilderness. We got lucky.

    Lying in our sleeping bags after dark, we both heard our first wolf.

    “What’s that mama?” he asked, a little nervously.

    “That’s life,” I thought. “That is life howling at the moon at the cutting edge of time. That, my dear child, is the opposite of nothingness. That is the antithesis of death. That is the deep past and the unknowable future held together by muscle and sinew and desire.”

    “It’s a wolf,” I finally said, “and you are very lucky to hear one.”

    “But aren’t you afraid,” he asked?

    “No,” I said. “I’m not afraid of the wolf, or of mountain lions, or bears, or lightning, or poison ivy. But what I am afraid of is that the wolf that we just heard could be shot. I’m afraid that I will never hear that sound again. I’m afraid that the rivers will be dammed and the soil will be lost and that too many species of birds will disappear forever.

    “I’m afraid that my neighbor’s hearts are too small. I’m afraid that most people have forgotten who and what they are. I’m afraid that you will grow up without knowing beauty or wonder.”

    Well, OK, maybe I didn’t say all that, but he got the message.

    He’s not afraid of wolves. Sweet boy, at 10 years old, he’s not even afraid of the future – at least not yet.

    “The great terror of our age,” wrote Loren Eiseley, “is our own conception of ourselves.” Yes, I care about wolves, but I care about my son even more, and I want him to know that the human heart is large, that our species is special because we get to choose who and what we are, that narrow self-interest, hatred and fear doesn’t have to define the human character, that the Endangered Species Act is not only about recovering the Mexican gray wolf, it’s also about recovering ourselves.

    I understand that it’s hard sometimes to give the wolf or other listed species a free pass, especially when livelihoods are believed to be at stake.

    But for me, the Endangered Species Act remains a sacred trust between my family and my government guaranteeing us that the diversity of life contained within our national boundaries will not be diminished by human agency.

    The protections that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could and should and must provide the Mexican gray wolf on its long road to full recovery is the people’s business. It’s my business.

    They are working for me, and for Hawk, and for millions of other Americans who not only want a future filled with wolf song, but demand it under the law.

    The Endangered Species Act is not the jack boot of big government. The Endangered Species Act is me. The jack boots are mine. I’m one who wants the world to stay alive.

    I want Hawk to know beauty and wonder.

    I am not afraid of wolves. But I am so very afraid of a future without them.

  • One day. Every person. Our Community.

    Today’s the day! Give Grande NM is the biggest online philanthropic event in New Mexico history! The goal is to raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits in 24 hours.

    Every gift given to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance through Give Grande New Mexico will be magnified by matching funds from local donors and national sponsors today only! Donate online to NM Wild by clicking here—it’s fast, easy and secure. Help us make history in New Mexico by Giving Grande!

    Love wilderness? Want to keep New Mexico wild? Then please consider giving to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance through Give Grande!

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    06/08/2014 

    More than 100 years ago, a New Mexican named Edgar Lee Hewett drafted a piece of legislation that would become known as the Antiquities Act. Many know that Republican Congressman John F. Lacey sponsored and passed this legislation and that President Teddy Roosevelt signed it and put it to great effect. Nearly every president since then, on both sides of the aisle, has used the Antiquities Act.

    New Mexico has always led the nation in conservation policy, in part thanks to the groundwork laid by Hewett. His law has been used in New Mexico to designate White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, and El Morro. These are places that drive our economy and preserve our history and culture.

    On May 21, 2014, more than 100 years later, Hewett’s work was the law President Obama used to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    This is a special moment for New Mexico. The monument designation will permanently protect these unique and historic lands. It is the culmination of efforts begun a decade ago by the people of southern New Mexico, including former Senator Jeff Bingaman. The monument is a reality thanks to the thousands of New Mexicans who treasure these iconic areas, and have worked tirelessly so that future generations will enjoy them as well.

    The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument will literally put southern New Mexico on recreation maps around the world. It will attract tourists, create jobs, and bring in millions of dollars in tourism revenue. Local families and visitors alike will be able to hike, hunt, and learn from the hundreds of significant historic sites throughout the monument.

    The spectacular views afforded by the new monument are well-known, and the protected habitat for deer, quail and javelina guarantees some of the best hunting in the state. The canyons and grasslands are home to many species of birds and other plants and animals — some found nowhere else in the world. The region also has been important throughout history. It contains more than 5,000 archaeologically and culturally significant sites, including Spanish settlements and numerous petroglyphs and pictographs. Billy the Kid and Geronimo hid in these hills. World War II soldiers and astronauts from the Apollo space mission trained here.

    The monument lands will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as they are now. That means that grazing will operate under the same rules as it does today. The BLM will continue to have the explicit authority to issue new rights-of-way for flood prevention and watershed restoration projects within the monument. The state will continue to manage wildlife and game within the monument. Road access will remain for everyone, and ranchers will continue to have vehicular access to their allotment infrastructure. Further, the border security mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not be limited. In fact, CBP has stated that the monument “provides important flexibility as we work to meet this ongoing priority.”

    While the president’s proclamation creates the monument, there is still work to be done. We still need to create permanent wilderness areas within the monument, release wilderness study areas where needed, and to widen the international border buffer zone beyond existing law for federal, state, and local law enforcement to better patrol the border area. That can only be accomplished by an act of Congress.

    We introduced monument legislation last December, and will continue to push for passage of portions that could not be addressed by the president’s proclamation. Our bill reflects the input of ranchers, nearby communities, recreation groups, area businesses, those involved in flood control, and other stakeholders, as well as state agencies, White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Border Patrol.

    Our legislation will increase the operational flexibility of Border Patrol beyond what they can do today. It creates new opportunities for expanded surveillance, pursuit and patrol. By releasing more than 30,000 acres from existing wilderness study area designation, it increases the current 0.3-mile buffer between the Mexican border and protected lands to a full five-mile buffer. It also designates an east-west vehicular route within the Potrillo Mountains Wilderness to allow Border Patrol and other law enforcement operations. And the legislation further clarifies provisions related to watershed restoration and flood prevention.

    The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument is a great step forward for southern New Mexico. It honors our heritage and it strengthens our economy. We all have the same goal. We all want to ensure that our natural and cultural treasures are preserved for future generations and that communities in Doña Ana County can continue to grow and prosper.

    Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    06/08/2014 

    More than 100 years ago, a New Mexican named Edgar Lee Hewett drafted a piece of legislation that would become known as the Antiquities Act. Many know that Republican Congressman John F. Lacey sponsored and passed this legislation and that President Teddy Roosevelt signed it and put it to great effect. Nearly every president since then, on both sides of the aisle, has used the Antiquities Act.

    New Mexico has always led the nation in conservation policy, in part thanks to the groundwork laid by Hewett. His law has been used in New Mexico to designate White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, and El Morro. These are places that drive our economy and preserve our history and culture.

    On May 21, 2014, more than 100 years later, Hewett’s work was the law President Obama used to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    This is a special moment for New Mexico. The monument designation will permanently protect these unique and historic lands. It is the culmination of efforts begun a decade ago by the people of southern New Mexico, including former Senator Jeff Bingaman. The monument is a reality thanks to the thousands of New Mexicans who treasure these iconic areas, and have worked tirelessly so that future generations will enjoy them as well.

    The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument will literally put southern New Mexico on recreation maps around the world. It will attract tourists, create jobs, and bring in millions of dollars in tourism revenue. Local families and visitors alike will be able to hike, hunt, and learn from the hundreds of significant historic sites throughout the monument.

    The spectacular views afforded by the new monument are well-known, and the protected habitat for deer, quail and javelina guarantees some of the best hunting in the state. The canyons and grasslands are home to many species of birds and other plants and animals — some found nowhere else in the world. The region also has been important throughout history. It contains more than 5,000 archaeologically and culturally significant sites, including Spanish settlements and numerous petroglyphs and pictographs. Billy the Kid and Geronimo hid in these hills. World War II soldiers and astronauts from the Apollo space mission trained here.

    The monument lands will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as they are now. That means that grazing will operate under the same rules as it does today. The BLM will continue to have the explicit authority to issue new rights-of-way for flood prevention and watershed restoration projects within the monument. The state will continue to manage wildlife and game within the monument. Road access will remain for everyone, and ranchers will continue to have vehicular access to their allotment infrastructure. Further, the border security mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not be limited. In fact, CBP has stated that the monument “provides important flexibility as we work to meet this ongoing priority.”

    While the president’s proclamation creates the monument, there is still work to be done. We still need to create permanent wilderness areas within the monument, release wilderness study areas where needed, and to widen the international border buffer zone beyond existing law for federal, state, and local law enforcement to better patrol the border area. That can only be accomplished by an act of Congress.

    We introduced monument legislation last December, and will continue to push for passage of portions that could not be addressed by the president’s proclamation. Our bill reflects the input of ranchers, nearby communities, recreation groups, area businesses, those involved in flood control, and other stakeholders, as well as state agencies, White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Border Patrol.

    Our legislation will increase the operational flexibility of Border Patrol beyond what they can do today. It creates new opportunities for expanded surveillance, pursuit and patrol. By releasing more than 30,000 acres from existing wilderness study area designation, it increases the current 0.3-mile buffer between the Mexican border and protected lands to a full five-mile buffer. It also designates an east-west vehicular route within the Potrillo Mountains Wilderness to allow Border Patrol and other law enforcement operations. And the legislation further clarifies provisions related to watershed restoration and flood prevention.

    The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument is a great step forward for southern New Mexico. It honors our heritage and it strengthens our economy. We all have the same goal. We all want to ensure that our natural and cultural treasures are preserved for future generations and that communities in Doña Ana County can continue to grow and prosper.

    Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    06/08/2014 

    More than 100 years ago, a New Mexican named Edgar Lee Hewett drafted a piece of legislation that would become known as the Antiquities Act. Many know that Republican Congressman John F. Lacey sponsored and passed this legislation and that President Teddy Roosevelt signed it and put it to great effect. Nearly every president since then, on both sides of the aisle, has used the Antiquities Act.

    New Mexico has always led the nation in conservation policy, in part thanks to the groundwork laid by Hewett. His law has been used in New Mexico to designate White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, and El Morro. These are places that drive our economy and preserve our history and culture.

    On May 21, 2014, more than 100 years later, Hewett’s work was the law President Obama used to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    This is a special moment for New Mexico. The monument designation will permanently protect these unique and historic lands. It is the culmination of efforts begun a decade ago by the people of southern New Mexico, including former Senator Jeff Bingaman. The monument is a reality thanks to the thousands of New Mexicans who treasure these iconic areas, and have worked tirelessly so that future generations will enjoy them as well.

    The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument will literally put southern New Mexico on recreation maps around the world. It will attract tourists, create jobs, and bring in millions of dollars in tourism revenue. Local families and visitors alike will be able to hike, hunt, and learn from the hundreds of significant historic sites throughout the monument.

    The spectacular views afforded by the new monument are well-known, and the protected habitat for deer, quail and javelina guarantees some of the best hunting in the state. The canyons and grasslands are home to many species of birds and other plants and animals — some found nowhere else in the world. The region also has been important throughout history. It contains more than 5,000 archaeologically and culturally significant sites, including Spanish settlements and numerous petroglyphs and pictographs. Billy the Kid and Geronimo hid in these hills. World War II soldiers and astronauts from the Apollo space mission trained here.

    The monument lands will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as they are now. That means that grazing will operate under the same rules as it does today. The BLM will continue to have the explicit authority to issue new rights-of-way for flood prevention and watershed restoration projects within the monument. The state will continue to manage wildlife and game within the monument. Road access will remain for everyone, and ranchers will continue to have vehicular access to their allotment infrastructure. Further, the border security mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not be limited. In fact, CBP has stated that the monument “provides important flexibility as we work to meet this ongoing priority.”

    While the president’s proclamation creates the monument, there is still work to be done. We still need to create permanent wilderness areas within the monument, release wilderness study areas where needed, and to widen the international border buffer zone beyond existing law for federal, state, and local law enforcement to better patrol the border area. That can only be accomplished by an act of Congress.

    We introduced monument legislation last December, and will continue to push for passage of portions that could not be addressed by the president’s proclamation. Our bill reflects the input of ranchers, nearby communities, recreation groups, area businesses, those involved in flood control, and other stakeholders, as well as state agencies, White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Border Patrol.

    Our legislation will increase the operational flexibility of Border Patrol beyond what they can do today. It creates new opportunities for expanded surveillance, pursuit and patrol. By releasing more than 30,000 acres from existing wilderness study area designation, it increases the current 0.3-mile buffer between the Mexican border and protected lands to a full five-mile buffer. It also designates an east-west vehicular route within the Potrillo Mountains Wilderness to allow Border Patrol and other law enforcement operations. And the legislation further clarifies provisions related to watershed restoration and flood prevention.

    The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument is a great step forward for southern New Mexico. It honors our heritage and it strengthens our economy. We all have the same goal. We all want to ensure that our natural and cultural treasures are preserved for future generations and that communities in Doña Ana County can continue to grow and prosper.

    Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    Guest column by U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich
    12/19/2013

    The Organ Mountains and surrounding area form a beautiful and iconic backdrop for Las Cruces and are beloved by New Mexicans who visit Doña Ana County to hunt, picnic, hike, and explore. This month, we were proud to introduce legislation to ensure that future generations of New Mexicans can continue those traditions, while boosting tourism and recreation opportunities.

    Our Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act would designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, putting a star on recreation maps around the world, highlighting the area’s unique culture and history, and drawing tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. The most recent study estimates that a national monument designation would generate $7.4 million in new economic activity every year.

    There’s a reason a recent survey found that 83 percent of people in Doña Ana County support the creation of a monument. The biologically and culturally rich terrain stretches from the granite peaks of the Organ Mountains, to the cinder cones, lava flows, and increasingly rare grasslands of the Potrillo Mountains, and from the caves, limestone cliffs, and winding canyons of the Robledos to the Uvas Mountains and the secluded Broad Canyon.

    These landscapes define southern New Mexico. The protected habitat for deer, quail and javelina guarantees some of the best hunting in the state. The canyons are home to species of birds, cacti, daisies, grasshoppers and other plants and animals, some found nowhere else in the world. And the region has been important throughout history — Billy the Kid and Geronimo hid in these hills, and World War II soldiers and astronauts from the Apollo space mission trained here.

    Within the proposed national monument, eight wilderness areas would be guaranteed permanent protection. The monument would continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management, as it is today. And the BLM would be directed to ensure that grazing continues under the exact same rules as it does today, while the state would continue to manage wildlife and game within the monument. We’ve written the legislation to require that ranchers can continue to use all existing roads necessary to access stock improvements, including all roads leading to water troughs, pipelines and corrals. And the wilderness provisions allow primary roads to remain open so that the public can continue to use them, ensuring that you are never more than four miles from a road within the wilderness areas.

    First introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman, the current bill is the result of years of work. It reflects the help and comments of ranchers, nearby communities, stakeholders, recreation groups and area businesses, and other stakeholders, as well as state agencies, White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Border Patrol.

    We want to thank everyone who has provided insight; the proposal is better for it. For example, our bill increases the operational flexibility of Border Patrol beyond existing law, and creates new opportunities for expanded surveillance, pursuit and patrol. By releasing 30,000 acres from existing wilderness study area designation, the bill increases the current 0.3 -mile buffer between the Mexican border and protected lands to a full five-mile buffer. It also designates an east-west vehicular route within the Potrillo Mountains Wilderness to allow Border Patrol and other law enforcement to conduct border security operations.

    The legislation further supports county and local government efforts to implement early warning systems for extreme weather and flood prevention. It makes explicit the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to issue new rights-of-way for flood prevention and watershed restoration projects within the monument. It also clarifies that the BLM must include a full assessment of opportunities for watershed restoration as a part of its plan to manage the monument.

    With this legislation, we honor the countless individuals who have made their way to the Organ Mountains and surrounding desert peaks to build a life and enjoy the abundant resources of this magnificent region. From those who left their marks carved into the cliff walls centuries ago, and the early homesteaders and travelers on the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, to the modern business owners, ranchers, and families who use and explore the cliffs and grasslands of the proposed Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument today.

    We all have the same goal. We all want to ensure that these natural and cultural treasures are preserved for future generations and that communities in Doña Ana County can continue to grow and prosper.

    Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich both represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate. Both are Democrats.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    Guest column by U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich
    12/19/2013

    The Organ Mountains and surrounding area form a beautiful and iconic backdrop for Las Cruces and are beloved by New Mexicans who visit Doña Ana County to hunt, picnic, hike, and explore. This month, we were proud to introduce legislation to ensure that future generations of New Mexicans can continue those traditions, while boosting tourism and recreation opportunities.

    Our Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act would designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, putting a star on recreation maps around the world, highlighting the area’s unique culture and history, and drawing tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. The most recent study estimates that a national monument designation would generate $7.4 million in new economic activity every year.

    There’s a reason a recent survey found that 83 percent of people in Doña Ana County support the creation of a monument. The biologically and culturally rich terrain stretches from the granite peaks of the Organ Mountains, to the cinder cones, lava flows, and increasingly rare grasslands of the Potrillo Mountains, and from the caves, limestone cliffs, and winding canyons of the Robledos to the Uvas Mountains and the secluded Broad Canyon.

    These landscapes define southern New Mexico. The protected habitat for deer, quail and javelina guarantees some of the best hunting in the state. The canyons are home to species of birds, cacti, daisies, grasshoppers and other plants and animals, some found nowhere else in the world. And the region has been important throughout history — Billy the Kid and Geronimo hid in these hills, and World War II soldiers and astronauts from the Apollo space mission trained here.

    Within the proposed national monument, eight wilderness areas would be guaranteed permanent protection. The monument would continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management, as it is today. And the BLM would be directed to ensure that grazing continues under the exact same rules as it does today, while the state would continue to manage wildlife and game within the monument. We’ve written the legislation to require that ranchers can continue to use all existing roads necessary to access stock improvements, including all roads leading to water troughs, pipelines and corrals. And the wilderness provisions allow primary roads to remain open so that the public can continue to use them, ensuring that you are never more than four miles from a road within the wilderness areas.

    First introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman, the current bill is the result of years of work. It reflects the help and comments of ranchers, nearby communities, stakeholders, recreation groups and area businesses, and other stakeholders, as well as state agencies, White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Border Patrol.

    We want to thank everyone who has provided insight; the proposal is better for it. For example, our bill increases the operational flexibility of Border Patrol beyond existing law, and creates new opportunities for expanded surveillance, pursuit and patrol. By releasing 30,000 acres from existing wilderness study area designation, the bill increases the current 0.3 -mile buffer between the Mexican border and protected lands to a full five-mile buffer. It also designates an east-west vehicular route within the Potrillo Mountains Wilderness to allow Border Patrol and other law enforcement to conduct border security operations.

    The legislation further supports county and local government efforts to implement early warning systems for extreme weather and flood prevention. It makes explicit the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to issue new rights-of-way for flood prevention and watershed restoration projects within the monument. It also clarifies that the BLM must include a full assessment of opportunities for watershed restoration as a part of its plan to manage the monument.

    With this legislation, we honor the countless individuals who have made their way to the Organ Mountains and surrounding desert peaks to build a life and enjoy the abundant resources of this magnificent region. From those who left their marks carved into the cliff walls centuries ago, and the early homesteaders and travelers on the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, to the modern business owners, ranchers, and families who use and explore the cliffs and grasslands of the proposed Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument today.

    We all have the same goal. We all want to ensure that these natural and cultural treasures are preserved for future generations and that communities in Doña Ana County can continue to grow and prosper.

    Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich both represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate. Both are Democrats.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News
    Guest column by U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich
    12/19/2013

    The Organ Mountains and surrounding area form a beautiful and iconic backdrop for Las Cruces and are beloved by New Mexicans who visit Doña Ana County to hunt, picnic, hike, and explore. This month, we were proud to introduce legislation to ensure that future generations of New Mexicans can continue those traditions, while boosting tourism and recreation opportunities.

    Our Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act would designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, putting a star on recreation maps around the world, highlighting the area’s unique culture and history, and drawing tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. The most recent study estimates that a national monument designation would generate $7.4 million in new economic activity every year.

    There’s a reason a recent survey found that 83 percent of people in Doña Ana County support the creation of a monument. The biologically and culturally rich terrain stretches from the granite peaks of the Organ Mountains, to the cinder cones, lava flows, and increasingly rare grasslands of the Potrillo Mountains, and from the caves, limestone cliffs, and winding canyons of the Robledos to the Uvas Mountains and the secluded Broad Canyon.

    These landscapes define southern New Mexico. The protected habitat for deer, quail and javelina guarantees some of the best hunting in the state. The canyons are home to species of birds, cacti, daisies, grasshoppers and other plants and animals, some found nowhere else in the world. And the region has been important throughout history — Billy the Kid and Geronimo hid in these hills, and World War II soldiers and astronauts from the Apollo space mission trained here.

    Within the proposed national monument, eight wilderness areas would be guaranteed permanent protection. The monument would continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management, as it is today. And the BLM would be directed to ensure that grazing continues under the exact same rules as it does today, while the state would continue to manage wildlife and game within the monument. We’ve written the legislation to require that ranchers can continue to use all existing roads necessary to access stock improvements, including all roads leading to water troughs, pipelines and corrals. And the wilderness provisions allow primary roads to remain open so that the public can continue to use them, ensuring that you are never more than four miles from a road within the wilderness areas.

    First introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman, the current bill is the result of years of work. It reflects the help and comments of ranchers, nearby communities, stakeholders, recreation groups and area businesses, and other stakeholders, as well as state agencies, White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss and the U.S. Border Patrol.

    We want to thank everyone who has provided insight; the proposal is better for it. For example, our bill increases the operational flexibility of Border Patrol beyond existing law, and creates new opportunities for expanded surveillance, pursuit and patrol. By releasing 30,000 acres from existing wilderness study area designation, the bill increases the current 0.3 -mile buffer between the Mexican border and protected lands to a full five-mile buffer. It also designates an east-west vehicular route within the Potrillo Mountains Wilderness to allow Border Patrol and other law enforcement to conduct border security operations.

    The legislation further supports county and local government efforts to implement early warning systems for extreme weather and flood prevention. It makes explicit the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to issue new rights-of-way for flood prevention and watershed restoration projects within the monument. It also clarifies that the BLM must include a full assessment of opportunities for watershed restoration as a part of its plan to manage the monument.

    With this legislation, we honor the countless individuals who have made their way to the Organ Mountains and surrounding desert peaks to build a life and enjoy the abundant resources of this magnificent region. From those who left their marks carved into the cliff walls centuries ago, and the early homesteaders and travelers on the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, to the modern business owners, ranchers, and families who use and explore the cliffs and grasslands of the proposed Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument today.

    We all have the same goal. We all want to ensure that these natural and cultural treasures are preserved for future generations and that communities in Doña Ana County can continue to grow and prosper.

    Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich both represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate. Both are Democrats.

  • May 2, 1014
    KTSM

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) — Leaders from five Native American tribes: Ysleta de Sur Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo, Jemez Pueblo and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe toured several sacred sites in the proposed Organ-Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    The tour comes just weeks after the All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) endorsed the proposed national monument in a joint resolution citing the profound spiritual and historic resources in the region and their enduring impact on Native American culture.

    The resolution by APCG was unanimously ratified on March 19.

    Friday’s tour was an opportunity for several tribal leaders from throughout the region to reconnect with and offer blessings for the proposed monument.

    “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region holds rich cultural connections for our tribe and for other Native tribes in New Mexico. We strongly support the National Monument proposal to protect both these public lands as well as our ability to access sacred sites within them,” said Ysleta del Sur Tribal Council Member Rafael “Shorty” Gomez.

  • May 2, 1014
    KTSM

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) — Leaders from five Native American tribes: Ysleta de Sur Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo, Jemez Pueblo and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe toured several sacred sites in the proposed Organ-Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    The tour comes just weeks after the All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) endorsed the proposed national monument in a joint resolution citing the profound spiritual and historic resources in the region and their enduring impact on Native American culture.

    The resolution by APCG was unanimously ratified on March 19.

    Friday’s tour was an opportunity for several tribal leaders from throughout the region to reconnect with and offer blessings for the proposed monument.

    “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region holds rich cultural connections for our tribe and for other Native tribes in New Mexico. We strongly support the National Monument proposal to protect both these public lands as well as our ability to access sacred sites within them,” said Ysleta del Sur Tribal Council Member Rafael “Shorty” Gomez.

  • May 2, 1014
    KTSM

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) — Leaders from five Native American tribes: Ysleta de Sur Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo, Jemez Pueblo and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe toured several sacred sites in the proposed Organ-Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    The tour comes just weeks after the All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) endorsed the proposed national monument in a joint resolution citing the profound spiritual and historic resources in the region and their enduring impact on Native American culture.

    The resolution by APCG was unanimously ratified on March 19.

    Friday’s tour was an opportunity for several tribal leaders from throughout the region to reconnect with and offer blessings for the proposed monument.

    “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region holds rich cultural connections for our tribe and for other Native tribes in New Mexico. We strongly support the National Monument proposal to protect both these public lands as well as our ability to access sacred sites within them,” said Ysleta del Sur Tribal Council Member Rafael “Shorty” Gomez.

Search