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2014

  • Dear FriendsThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,

    I want to personally invite you to join the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance for a critically important public meeting.

    Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is coming to Las Cruces for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument campaign this Friday and she wants to hear from YOU. This will be the only opportunity to speak directly to Secretary Jewell and the Obama administration.

    THIS IS OUR BEST CHANCE to show support by attending the public meeting so Secretary Jewell can see our enthusiasm for herself. The more people we have in attendance, the better chance we have for action on a national monument!

    Who: Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Senators Tom Udall & Martin Heinrich, and YOU

    What: Public meeting to discuss protecting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument

    When: Friday, January 24, at 3 p.m.; Doors open at 2:15 p.m.

    Where: Ramada Inn, 201 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88005

    Why: To finally protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

    You can also RSVP by replying to this e-mail or to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Thank you for your support, and if you are able to help us contact members about the event today and tomorrow, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Mark Allison

    Executive Director

  • E&E News
    December 4, 2014

    Killing wolves to reduce predation on livestock does not work, according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University.

    The study found that killing wolves as a management technique may be doing more harm than good. Researchers concluded that the animals end up killing more livestock after their numbers have been reduced. The study found that wolf pack stability is important to controlling wolf impacts on livestock.

    “They just want to get rid of wolves,” said Rob Wielgus, a wildlife ecology professor and lead author of the study. “Livestock lobbyists are pretty much vehemently opposed to my research. But in terms of hard science, it stood the test.”

    Nearly 1,700 wolves roam the northern Rockies region, up from 66 animals in Idaho and Wyoming in the mid-1990s. There are an estimated 50 wolves in Washington state.

    Groups in favor of wolf management in the region blasted the study, and Jamie Henneman, a spokeswoman for the group Washington Residents Against Wolves, said the study was “not clean science” (Kirk Johnson, New York Times, Dec. 3). — MH

  • E&E News
    December 4, 2014

    Killing wolves to reduce predation on livestock does not work, according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University.

    The study found that killing wolves as a management technique may be doing more harm than good. Researchers concluded that the animals end up killing more livestock after their numbers have been reduced. The study found that wolf pack stability is important to controlling wolf impacts on livestock.

    “They just want to get rid of wolves,” said Rob Wielgus, a wildlife ecology professor and lead author of the study. “Livestock lobbyists are pretty much vehemently opposed to my research. But in terms of hard science, it stood the test.”

    Nearly 1,700 wolves roam the northern Rockies region, up from 66 animals in Idaho and Wyoming in the mid-1990s. There are an estimated 50 wolves in Washington state.

    Groups in favor of wolf management in the region blasted the study, and Jamie Henneman, a spokeswoman for the group Washington Residents Against Wolves, said the study was “not clean science” (Kirk Johnson, New York Times, Dec. 3). — MH

  • E&E News
    December 4, 2014

    Killing wolves to reduce predation on livestock does not work, according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University.

    The study found that killing wolves as a management technique may be doing more harm than good. Researchers concluded that the animals end up killing more livestock after their numbers have been reduced. The study found that wolf pack stability is important to controlling wolf impacts on livestock.

    “They just want to get rid of wolves,” said Rob Wielgus, a wildlife ecology professor and lead author of the study. “Livestock lobbyists are pretty much vehemently opposed to my research. But in terms of hard science, it stood the test.”

    Nearly 1,700 wolves roam the northern Rockies region, up from 66 animals in Idaho and Wyoming in the mid-1990s. There are an estimated 50 wolves in Washington state.

    Groups in favor of wolf management in the region blasted the study, and Jamie Henneman, a spokeswoman for the group Washington Residents Against Wolves, said the study was “not clean science” (Kirk Johnson, New York Times, Dec. 3). — MH

  • KRWG
    May 20, 2014
    By New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Faith-based non-profit New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith (CAFé), released the following statement by Executive Director Sarah Nolan in response to criticism by Representative Steve Pearce (NM-2) of President Obama’s action to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    “It is disappointing but not surprising that Representative Pearce has rebuffed the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This community discussion has been going on for over a decade. Instead of trying to bring people together, Representative Pearce has spread misinformation and tried to divide the community.”

    “Representative Pearce chided the President today for not doing ‘what local people,’ when it is actually Pearce who is doing that. He is steadfastly worked against the Organ Mountains- Desert Peaks National Monument, even though support for the new monument is widespread in our community and includes business owners, elected officials, Native American leaders, Latino organizations, veterans, sportsmen, equestrians, faith leaders, conservationists, ranchers, historians, and more. Polling from this past January showed that 72 percent of Doña Ana County residents support the designation of this monument.”

    “Beyond disappointing is that Rep. Pearce and his surrogates continue to falsely claim that the national monument will hinder law enforcement, cause illegal immigration, and threaten our community’s safety. These efforts to scare people about our community’s ‘security’ are divisive and insulting and need to stop.”

    “Unfortunately, this is another example of Rep. Pearce being out of step with new opportunities that are good for southern New Mexico, as is the case with his positions on health care, food stamps, equal pay for equal work, and an increase in the minimum wage. Once again, Steve Pearce is out of touch with the needs and wishes of Doña Ana County residents.”

    “We hope that Representative Pearce will come to embrace the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as a tremendous asset for Doña Ana County and New Mexico. This new monument is significant to people across cultures and communities. Protecting these public lands will unite our hopes for the future and strengthen the diverse social fabric of our region.”

  • KRWG
    May 20, 2014
    By New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Faith-based non-profit New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith (CAFé), released the following statement by Executive Director Sarah Nolan in response to criticism by Representative Steve Pearce (NM-2) of President Obama’s action to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    “It is disappointing but not surprising that Representative Pearce has rebuffed the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This community discussion has been going on for over a decade. Instead of trying to bring people together, Representative Pearce has spread misinformation and tried to divide the community.”

    “Representative Pearce chided the President today for not doing ‘what local people,’ when it is actually Pearce who is doing that. He is steadfastly worked against the Organ Mountains- Desert Peaks National Monument, even though support for the new monument is widespread in our community and includes business owners, elected officials, Native American leaders, Latino organizations, veterans, sportsmen, equestrians, faith leaders, conservationists, ranchers, historians, and more. Polling from this past January showed that 72 percent of Doña Ana County residents support the designation of this monument.”

    “Beyond disappointing is that Rep. Pearce and his surrogates continue to falsely claim that the national monument will hinder law enforcement, cause illegal immigration, and threaten our community’s safety. These efforts to scare people about our community’s ‘security’ are divisive and insulting and need to stop.”

    “Unfortunately, this is another example of Rep. Pearce being out of step with new opportunities that are good for southern New Mexico, as is the case with his positions on health care, food stamps, equal pay for equal work, and an increase in the minimum wage. Once again, Steve Pearce is out of touch with the needs and wishes of Doña Ana County residents.”

    “We hope that Representative Pearce will come to embrace the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as a tremendous asset for Doña Ana County and New Mexico. This new monument is significant to people across cultures and communities. Protecting these public lands will unite our hopes for the future and strengthen the diverse social fabric of our region.”

  • KRWG
    May 20, 2014
    By New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Faith-based non-profit New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith (CAFé), released the following statement by Executive Director Sarah Nolan in response to criticism by Representative Steve Pearce (NM-2) of President Obama’s action to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    “It is disappointing but not surprising that Representative Pearce has rebuffed the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This community discussion has been going on for over a decade. Instead of trying to bring people together, Representative Pearce has spread misinformation and tried to divide the community.”

    “Representative Pearce chided the President today for not doing ‘what local people,’ when it is actually Pearce who is doing that. He is steadfastly worked against the Organ Mountains- Desert Peaks National Monument, even though support for the new monument is widespread in our community and includes business owners, elected officials, Native American leaders, Latino organizations, veterans, sportsmen, equestrians, faith leaders, conservationists, ranchers, historians, and more. Polling from this past January showed that 72 percent of Doña Ana County residents support the designation of this monument.”

    “Beyond disappointing is that Rep. Pearce and his surrogates continue to falsely claim that the national monument will hinder law enforcement, cause illegal immigration, and threaten our community’s safety. These efforts to scare people about our community’s ‘security’ are divisive and insulting and need to stop.”

    “Unfortunately, this is another example of Rep. Pearce being out of step with new opportunities that are good for southern New Mexico, as is the case with his positions on health care, food stamps, equal pay for equal work, and an increase in the minimum wage. Once again, Steve Pearce is out of touch with the needs and wishes of Doña Ana County residents.”

    “We hope that Representative Pearce will come to embrace the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as a tremendous asset for Doña Ana County and New Mexico. This new monument is significant to people across cultures and communities. Protecting these public lands will unite our hopes for the future and strengthen the diverse social fabric of our region.”

  • Posted by Jeannette Kimmel in Travel with Heart
    October 10, 2014
    National Geographic Traveler online

    On the trail to the bottom of a gorge in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument a short drive north from Taos, New Mexico, Stuart Wilde stops abruptly and loops the end of a rope around some branches.

    “Here you go, Raja,” he says softly, cooing to a mousey brown llama that stands nose-to-nose with its owner. Wilde instructs me to tie off my llama—a proud, white, fluffy male who is already enthusiastically reaching for a tuft of grass near my feet—and bounces over to inspect a nearby tree.

    “Ah, porcupines,” he says, smiling as he points out light patches on the bark, clear indications that the tree has been gnawed on by a prickly forest critter.

    “Here,” he says, ripping off a jagged bit of bark and thrusting it into my palm. “What does it smell like?”

    I hold my hand up to my nose and breathe deep. It smells like the outdoors, I think. Clean, fresh, a little like Christmas. And a tad sweet, perhaps?

    I shoot him a quizzical look and he tells me that we’re standing beneath a ponderosa pine. One of the great trees of the American West, it’s often referred to as a vanilla pine, owing to its strong scent. The local Pueblos once used its sap to create an antiseptic salve.
    Stuart Wilde and llama K2 (Photograph courtesy Wild Earth Llama Adventures)

    “Isn’t that fascinating?” Wilde smiles, pushing his nose against the redolent bark one more time, mirroring Raja, who’s got his head buried in a nearby bush.

    It is fascinating, but I have one eye on the tree and another on my llama, K2, whose rope has loosened from its branch. Wilde sees it, too, and before I know it, he’s next to K2, petting the white fur on the back of his outstretched neck.

    “Ooh, that’s good grass, isn’t it, K2? Yes it is, yes it is!” he purrs, as though addressing an infant who has just swallowed his first spoonful of mashed peas.

    All three llamas along on our trek—K2, Raja, and Diego (who is slightly bucktoothed and fond of spitting)—are teenagers, and whenever K2 stops on the path for something tasty, I tug at his rope and he cocks his banana-shape ears, looking at me defiantly (like any teenager, I suppose). But these llamas are Wilde’s babies, and the New Mexico wilderness is his home turf.

    When Wilde first came to New Mexico in his early 20s, he quickly found himself a single father of an 18-month-old boy. A lover of the outdoors, Wilde wanted to explore the nearby mountains and gorges, tucked into the Earth like secret passages. But when he realized he couldn’t carry his son, diapers, and his gear, he knew he had a problem. His solution? Get a pack animal to carry his gear for him.

    “I started hiking with llamas out of necessity,” he says. Llamas—or “yama,” as Wilde pronounces it—are related to the camel, and they are one of the oldest domesticated animals in the Americas. They’re sure-footed, have thick wool coats, don’t drink a lot of water, and, interestingly, like to relieve themselves in the same spot. This makes them not only the perfect high-altitude pack animal, but also easy to clean up after, thus exemplifying the wilderness enthusiast’s credo of “leave no trace.”

    “Llama trekking seemed a perfect fit,” explains Wilde. “As an outdoor educator and conservation advocate, they help me teach about minimal-impact backcountry ethics and sustainable tourism.”

    Since founding Wild Earth Llama Adventures two decades ago, Wilde and his family have rescued more than 30 llamas, ten of which have been rehabilitated to accompany trekkers on half-day hikes and multiday backpacking trips.

    Wilde’s enthusiasm for the outdoors doesn’t stop in New Mexico. He’s taking his passion all the way to the White House. He succeeded in leading Congressional delegations to protect the 101,000-acre Valle Vidal (often called the “Yellowstone of New Mexico”) from fracking, and just last year, President Obama signed the Presidential Proclamation establishing the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

    “New Mexico has access to both world-class recreation and a rich multicultural history that is integral to the landscape,” says Wilde. The Southwestern state has the desert vastness of Utah and Arizona, along with what Wilde calls the “alpine majesty” of Colorado, but, importantly, “without all the throngs of people.”

    And it’s true. On our four-hour hike, we only come across one other group of hikers.

    Today, Wilde’s llama treks attract people of all ages and experience levels, from hardcore backpackers looking for a break from their heavy gear to intergenerational clans hoping for an experience that both grandpa and his grandchildren can enjoy.

    But his treks aren’t just about the llamas. They’re a biology class, a history class, an anthropology class, and a cooking class, rolled into one. In just a few hours, I’ve learned about edible plants, native Pueblos, forestry laws, Taos history, and, of course, fun facts about llamas.

    “I wanted to make the outdoors accessible to everyone,” Wilde says. “I get hikers who just want to experience the wilderness in a different way, and I get people whose first question to me is ‘What’s the difference between a llama and an emu?’” To Wilde, the question is a little like asking the difference between a penguin and a Labradoodle, but he manages to be diplomatic.

    “First I explain that one’s a bird, and the rest just follows,” he laughs, leaping onto a nearby boulder. “Look here!”

    Faster than K2 and Raja can chow down on fresh grass, Wilde has found a rock decorated with petroglyphs that date back millennia and tell the story of New Mexico’s first human inhabitants.

    At first glance, the petroglyphs look misplaced and random, almost as though a misbehaving child who was told to stand next to a big rock for an hour simply carved the images out of boredom, retracing the lines over and over to etch cartoons into the stone.

    We pore over the glyphs—which depict deer and buffalo and bear claws, eagles and men and kachinas, spiritual beings to the Pueblo people—trying to deduce their meaning.

    “Look up,” Wilde instructs me, and my gaze follows his fingers to a notch at the top of the gorge, some 800 feet above our heads.

    “That’s east,” he says matter-of-factly. “From this exact spot, you can see the sun rising through that little window just twice a year.”

    Like Wilde and his llamas, everything has its place.

  • Posted by Jeannette Kimmel in Travel with Heart
    October 10, 2014
    National Geographic Traveler online

    On the trail to the bottom of a gorge in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument a short drive north from Taos, New Mexico, Stuart Wilde stops abruptly and loops the end of a rope around some branches.

    “Here you go, Raja,” he says softly, cooing to a mousey brown llama that stands nose-to-nose with its owner. Wilde instructs me to tie off my llama—a proud, white, fluffy male who is already enthusiastically reaching for a tuft of grass near my feet—and bounces over to inspect a nearby tree.

    “Ah, porcupines,” he says, smiling as he points out light patches on the bark, clear indications that the tree has been gnawed on by a prickly forest critter.

    “Here,” he says, ripping off a jagged bit of bark and thrusting it into my palm. “What does it smell like?”

    I hold my hand up to my nose and breathe deep. It smells like the outdoors, I think. Clean, fresh, a little like Christmas. And a tad sweet, perhaps?

    I shoot him a quizzical look and he tells me that we’re standing beneath a ponderosa pine. One of the great trees of the American West, it’s often referred to as a vanilla pine, owing to its strong scent. The local Pueblos once used its sap to create an antiseptic salve.
    Stuart Wilde and llama K2 (Photograph courtesy Wild Earth Llama Adventures)

    “Isn’t that fascinating?” Wilde smiles, pushing his nose against the redolent bark one more time, mirroring Raja, who’s got his head buried in a nearby bush.

    It is fascinating, but I have one eye on the tree and another on my llama, K2, whose rope has loosened from its branch. Wilde sees it, too, and before I know it, he’s next to K2, petting the white fur on the back of his outstretched neck.

    “Ooh, that’s good grass, isn’t it, K2? Yes it is, yes it is!” he purrs, as though addressing an infant who has just swallowed his first spoonful of mashed peas.

    All three llamas along on our trek—K2, Raja, and Diego (who is slightly bucktoothed and fond of spitting)—are teenagers, and whenever K2 stops on the path for something tasty, I tug at his rope and he cocks his banana-shape ears, looking at me defiantly (like any teenager, I suppose). But these llamas are Wilde’s babies, and the New Mexico wilderness is his home turf.

    When Wilde first came to New Mexico in his early 20s, he quickly found himself a single father of an 18-month-old boy. A lover of the outdoors, Wilde wanted to explore the nearby mountains and gorges, tucked into the Earth like secret passages. But when he realized he couldn’t carry his son, diapers, and his gear, he knew he had a problem. His solution? Get a pack animal to carry his gear for him.

    “I started hiking with llamas out of necessity,” he says. Llamas—or “yama,” as Wilde pronounces it—are related to the camel, and they are one of the oldest domesticated animals in the Americas. They’re sure-footed, have thick wool coats, don’t drink a lot of water, and, interestingly, like to relieve themselves in the same spot. This makes them not only the perfect high-altitude pack animal, but also easy to clean up after, thus exemplifying the wilderness enthusiast’s credo of “leave no trace.”

    “Llama trekking seemed a perfect fit,” explains Wilde. “As an outdoor educator and conservation advocate, they help me teach about minimal-impact backcountry ethics and sustainable tourism.”

    Since founding Wild Earth Llama Adventures two decades ago, Wilde and his family have rescued more than 30 llamas, ten of which have been rehabilitated to accompany trekkers on half-day hikes and multiday backpacking trips.

    Wilde’s enthusiasm for the outdoors doesn’t stop in New Mexico. He’s taking his passion all the way to the White House. He succeeded in leading Congressional delegations to protect the 101,000-acre Valle Vidal (often called the “Yellowstone of New Mexico”) from fracking, and just last year, President Obama signed the Presidential Proclamation establishing the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

    “New Mexico has access to both world-class recreation and a rich multicultural history that is integral to the landscape,” says Wilde. The Southwestern state has the desert vastness of Utah and Arizona, along with what Wilde calls the “alpine majesty” of Colorado, but, importantly, “without all the throngs of people.”

    And it’s true. On our four-hour hike, we only come across one other group of hikers.

    Today, Wilde’s llama treks attract people of all ages and experience levels, from hardcore backpackers looking for a break from their heavy gear to intergenerational clans hoping for an experience that both grandpa and his grandchildren can enjoy.

    But his treks aren’t just about the llamas. They’re a biology class, a history class, an anthropology class, and a cooking class, rolled into one. In just a few hours, I’ve learned about edible plants, native Pueblos, forestry laws, Taos history, and, of course, fun facts about llamas.

    “I wanted to make the outdoors accessible to everyone,” Wilde says. “I get hikers who just want to experience the wilderness in a different way, and I get people whose first question to me is ‘What’s the difference between a llama and an emu?’” To Wilde, the question is a little like asking the difference between a penguin and a Labradoodle, but he manages to be diplomatic.

    “First I explain that one’s a bird, and the rest just follows,” he laughs, leaping onto a nearby boulder. “Look here!”

    Faster than K2 and Raja can chow down on fresh grass, Wilde has found a rock decorated with petroglyphs that date back millennia and tell the story of New Mexico’s first human inhabitants.

    At first glance, the petroglyphs look misplaced and random, almost as though a misbehaving child who was told to stand next to a big rock for an hour simply carved the images out of boredom, retracing the lines over and over to etch cartoons into the stone.

    We pore over the glyphs—which depict deer and buffalo and bear claws, eagles and men and kachinas, spiritual beings to the Pueblo people—trying to deduce their meaning.

    “Look up,” Wilde instructs me, and my gaze follows his fingers to a notch at the top of the gorge, some 800 feet above our heads.

    “That’s east,” he says matter-of-factly. “From this exact spot, you can see the sun rising through that little window just twice a year.”

    Like Wilde and his llamas, everything has its place.

  • Posted by Jeannette Kimmel in Travel with Heart
    October 10, 2014
    National Geographic Traveler online

    On the trail to the bottom of a gorge in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument a short drive north from Taos, New Mexico, Stuart Wilde stops abruptly and loops the end of a rope around some branches.

    “Here you go, Raja,” he says softly, cooing to a mousey brown llama that stands nose-to-nose with its owner. Wilde instructs me to tie off my llama—a proud, white, fluffy male who is already enthusiastically reaching for a tuft of grass near my feet—and bounces over to inspect a nearby tree.

    “Ah, porcupines,” he says, smiling as he points out light patches on the bark, clear indications that the tree has been gnawed on by a prickly forest critter.

    “Here,” he says, ripping off a jagged bit of bark and thrusting it into my palm. “What does it smell like?”

    I hold my hand up to my nose and breathe deep. It smells like the outdoors, I think. Clean, fresh, a little like Christmas. And a tad sweet, perhaps?

    I shoot him a quizzical look and he tells me that we’re standing beneath a ponderosa pine. One of the great trees of the American West, it’s often referred to as a vanilla pine, owing to its strong scent. The local Pueblos once used its sap to create an antiseptic salve.
    Stuart Wilde and llama K2 (Photograph courtesy Wild Earth Llama Adventures)

    “Isn’t that fascinating?” Wilde smiles, pushing his nose against the redolent bark one more time, mirroring Raja, who’s got his head buried in a nearby bush.

    It is fascinating, but I have one eye on the tree and another on my llama, K2, whose rope has loosened from its branch. Wilde sees it, too, and before I know it, he’s next to K2, petting the white fur on the back of his outstretched neck.

    “Ooh, that’s good grass, isn’t it, K2? Yes it is, yes it is!” he purrs, as though addressing an infant who has just swallowed his first spoonful of mashed peas.

    All three llamas along on our trek—K2, Raja, and Diego (who is slightly bucktoothed and fond of spitting)—are teenagers, and whenever K2 stops on the path for something tasty, I tug at his rope and he cocks his banana-shape ears, looking at me defiantly (like any teenager, I suppose). But these llamas are Wilde’s babies, and the New Mexico wilderness is his home turf.

    When Wilde first came to New Mexico in his early 20s, he quickly found himself a single father of an 18-month-old boy. A lover of the outdoors, Wilde wanted to explore the nearby mountains and gorges, tucked into the Earth like secret passages. But when he realized he couldn’t carry his son, diapers, and his gear, he knew he had a problem. His solution? Get a pack animal to carry his gear for him.

    “I started hiking with llamas out of necessity,” he says. Llamas—or “yama,” as Wilde pronounces it—are related to the camel, and they are one of the oldest domesticated animals in the Americas. They’re sure-footed, have thick wool coats, don’t drink a lot of water, and, interestingly, like to relieve themselves in the same spot. This makes them not only the perfect high-altitude pack animal, but also easy to clean up after, thus exemplifying the wilderness enthusiast’s credo of “leave no trace.”

    “Llama trekking seemed a perfect fit,” explains Wilde. “As an outdoor educator and conservation advocate, they help me teach about minimal-impact backcountry ethics and sustainable tourism.”

    Since founding Wild Earth Llama Adventures two decades ago, Wilde and his family have rescued more than 30 llamas, ten of which have been rehabilitated to accompany trekkers on half-day hikes and multiday backpacking trips.

    Wilde’s enthusiasm for the outdoors doesn’t stop in New Mexico. He’s taking his passion all the way to the White House. He succeeded in leading Congressional delegations to protect the 101,000-acre Valle Vidal (often called the “Yellowstone of New Mexico”) from fracking, and just last year, President Obama signed the Presidential Proclamation establishing the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

    “New Mexico has access to both world-class recreation and a rich multicultural history that is integral to the landscape,” says Wilde. The Southwestern state has the desert vastness of Utah and Arizona, along with what Wilde calls the “alpine majesty” of Colorado, but, importantly, “without all the throngs of people.”

    And it’s true. On our four-hour hike, we only come across one other group of hikers.

    Today, Wilde’s llama treks attract people of all ages and experience levels, from hardcore backpackers looking for a break from their heavy gear to intergenerational clans hoping for an experience that both grandpa and his grandchildren can enjoy.

    But his treks aren’t just about the llamas. They’re a biology class, a history class, an anthropology class, and a cooking class, rolled into one. In just a few hours, I’ve learned about edible plants, native Pueblos, forestry laws, Taos history, and, of course, fun facts about llamas.

    “I wanted to make the outdoors accessible to everyone,” Wilde says. “I get hikers who just want to experience the wilderness in a different way, and I get people whose first question to me is ‘What’s the difference between a llama and an emu?’” To Wilde, the question is a little like asking the difference between a penguin and a Labradoodle, but he manages to be diplomatic.

    “First I explain that one’s a bird, and the rest just follows,” he laughs, leaping onto a nearby boulder. “Look here!”

    Faster than K2 and Raja can chow down on fresh grass, Wilde has found a rock decorated with petroglyphs that date back millennia and tell the story of New Mexico’s first human inhabitants.

    At first glance, the petroglyphs look misplaced and random, almost as though a misbehaving child who was told to stand next to a big rock for an hour simply carved the images out of boredom, retracing the lines over and over to etch cartoons into the stone.

    We pore over the glyphs—which depict deer and buffalo and bear claws, eagles and men and kachinas, spiritual beings to the Pueblo people—trying to deduce their meaning.

    “Look up,” Wilde instructs me, and my gaze follows his fingers to a notch at the top of the gorge, some 800 feet above our heads.

    “That’s east,” he says matter-of-factly. “From this exact spot, you can see the sun rising through that little window just twice a year.”

    Like Wilde and his llamas, everything has its place.

  • LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, along with business leaders in Doña Ana County and from across New Mexico, have penned a letter to President Barack Obama, asking the President to use the powers granted him by the Antiquities Act to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument. The letter was signed by leaders representing over 100 New Mexico businesses.

    One goal of the letter was to outline the significant economic impact that an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would have on nearby communities.

    “There are piles of evidence demonstrating the ways in which national monuments strengthen local economies,” said Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director of the Las Cruces chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce. “A new national monument at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks would boost our growing tourism industry, create new jobs, and attract new businesses to our community. Economically speaking, there is no downside.”

    The letter cites a recent economic study that projects the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would contribute $7.4 million in additional local annual economic activity and create 88 new jobs in the area. Local business owners, such as Jenifer Russin of Russin Reporting, LLC in Las Cruces, are optimistic about this potential for economic growth.

    “When you look at all the data surrounding what this national monument could do for our community, it is hard not to get excited about the prospects,” Russin said. “It is clear that my business as well as other types of businesses would greatly benefit from the increase in awareness about our county, in tourism to the area and the additional revenue that comes along with that.”

    Despite the efforts of New Mexico’s two Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, who have introduced a bill, S. 1805, to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the letter notes that a “deeply divided congress” has failed to act on important conservation issues in recent years. Thus, the letter implores the President to use his powers to create the new monument, thereby benefitting southern New Mexico’s economy while also preserving the historically significant places found within the region.

    “So much is at stake here,” Laura E. Sanchez, CEO of the New Mexico Green Chamber said.”Not only would the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument help our economy, it would ensure the protection of places important to our shared heritage, such as the Butterfield Stagecoach Route, critical sites along the Camino Real and areas of spiritual importance to Native American communities. We hope this letter, along with the efforts of Senators Udall and Heinrich, will convince the President that creating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is the right thing to do.”

    The signed letter to President Obama can be viewed by clicking here.

  • LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, along with business leaders in Doña Ana County and from across New Mexico, have penned a letter to President Barack Obama, asking the President to use the powers granted him by the Antiquities Act to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument. The letter was signed by leaders representing over 100 New Mexico businesses.

    One goal of the letter was to outline the significant economic impact that an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would have on nearby communities.

    “There are piles of evidence demonstrating the ways in which national monuments strengthen local economies,” said Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director of the Las Cruces chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce. “A new national monument at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks would boost our growing tourism industry, create new jobs, and attract new businesses to our community. Economically speaking, there is no downside.”

    The letter cites a recent economic study that projects the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would contribute $7.4 million in additional local annual economic activity and create 88 new jobs in the area. Local business owners, such as Jenifer Russin of Russin Reporting, LLC in Las Cruces, are optimistic about this potential for economic growth.

    “When you look at all the data surrounding what this national monument could do for our community, it is hard not to get excited about the prospects,” Russin said. “It is clear that my business as well as other types of businesses would greatly benefit from the increase in awareness about our county, in tourism to the area and the additional revenue that comes along with that.”

    Despite the efforts of New Mexico’s two Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, who have introduced a bill, S. 1805, to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the letter notes that a “deeply divided congress” has failed to act on important conservation issues in recent years. Thus, the letter implores the President to use his powers to create the new monument, thereby benefitting southern New Mexico’s economy while also preserving the historically significant places found within the region.

    “So much is at stake here,” Laura E. Sanchez, CEO of the New Mexico Green Chamber said.”Not only would the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument help our economy, it would ensure the protection of places important to our shared heritage, such as the Butterfield Stagecoach Route, critical sites along the Camino Real and areas of spiritual importance to Native American communities. We hope this letter, along with the efforts of Senators Udall and Heinrich, will convince the President that creating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is the right thing to do.”

    The signed letter to President Obama can be viewed by clicking here.

  • LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, along with business leaders in Doña Ana County and from across New Mexico, have penned a letter to President Barack Obama, asking the President to use the powers granted him by the Antiquities Act to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument. The letter was signed by leaders representing over 100 New Mexico businesses.

    One goal of the letter was to outline the significant economic impact that an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would have on nearby communities.

    “There are piles of evidence demonstrating the ways in which national monuments strengthen local economies,” said Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director of the Las Cruces chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce. “A new national monument at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks would boost our growing tourism industry, create new jobs, and attract new businesses to our community. Economically speaking, there is no downside.”

    The letter cites a recent economic study that projects the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would contribute $7.4 million in additional local annual economic activity and create 88 new jobs in the area. Local business owners, such as Jenifer Russin of Russin Reporting, LLC in Las Cruces, are optimistic about this potential for economic growth.

    “When you look at all the data surrounding what this national monument could do for our community, it is hard not to get excited about the prospects,” Russin said. “It is clear that my business as well as other types of businesses would greatly benefit from the increase in awareness about our county, in tourism to the area and the additional revenue that comes along with that.”

    Despite the efforts of New Mexico’s two Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, who have introduced a bill, S. 1805, to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the letter notes that a “deeply divided congress” has failed to act on important conservation issues in recent years. Thus, the letter implores the President to use his powers to create the new monument, thereby benefitting southern New Mexico’s economy while also preserving the historically significant places found within the region.

    “So much is at stake here,” Laura E. Sanchez, CEO of the New Mexico Green Chamber said.”Not only would the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument help our economy, it would ensure the protection of places important to our shared heritage, such as the Butterfield Stagecoach Route, critical sites along the Camino Real and areas of spiritual importance to Native American communities. We hope this letter, along with the efforts of Senators Udall and Heinrich, will convince the President that creating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is the right thing to do.”

    The signed letter to President Obama can be viewed by clicking here.

  •  

    Shop now.

    Other Ways to Shop for Wild this Holiday Season

    GoodShop

    goodshop 250x55At GoodShop, up to 30% of every purchase will go to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Find coupons and deals for more than 1,000 stores. Just go to the GoodShop website, type in New Mexico Wilderness Alliance in the search bar, and then shop! Donations will automatically be generated when you purchase through GoodShop!

    GoodSearch

    goodsearch 250x39GoodSearch is a great way to support the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance while browsing the internet. Every time you search, they make a donation to us! Powered by Yahoo!, you can even install it in your browser toolbar.

    Give back just by shopping at Amazon

    1383088192000 AmazonSmileAmazonSmile is an easy way for you to shop online and give to NM Wild at the same time. When you purchase an item on AmazonSmile, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization (type in “New Mexico Wilderness Alliance” in the search box). For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

    Is there any cost to charitable organizations or to customers?  No. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. The shopping experience is identical to Amazon.com with the added benefit that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Shop AmazonSmile now

  •  

    Shop now.

    Other Ways to Shop for Wild this Holiday Season

    GoodShop

    goodshop 250x55At GoodShop, up to 30% of every purchase will go to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Find coupons and deals for more than 1,000 stores. Just go to the GoodShop website, type in New Mexico Wilderness Alliance in the search bar, and then shop! Donations will automatically be generated when you purchase through GoodShop!

    GoodSearch

    goodsearch 250x39GoodSearch is a great way to support the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance while browsing the internet. Every time you search, they make a donation to us! Powered by Yahoo!, you can even install it in your browser toolbar.

    Give back just by shopping at Amazon

    1383088192000 AmazonSmileAmazonSmile is an easy way for you to shop online and give to NM Wild at the same time. When you purchase an item on AmazonSmile, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization (type in “New Mexico Wilderness Alliance” in the search box). For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

    Is there any cost to charitable organizations or to customers?  No. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. The shopping experience is identical to Amazon.com with the added benefit that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Shop AmazonSmile now

  •  

    Shop now.

    Other Ways to Shop for Wild this Holiday Season

    GoodShop

    goodshop 250x55At GoodShop, up to 30% of every purchase will go to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Find coupons and deals for more than 1,000 stores. Just go to the GoodShop website, type in New Mexico Wilderness Alliance in the search bar, and then shop! Donations will automatically be generated when you purchase through GoodShop!

    GoodSearch

    goodsearch 250x39GoodSearch is a great way to support the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance while browsing the internet. Every time you search, they make a donation to us! Powered by Yahoo!, you can even install it in your browser toolbar.

    Give back just by shopping at Amazon

    1383088192000 AmazonSmileAmazonSmile is an easy way for you to shop online and give to NM Wild at the same time. When you purchase an item on AmazonSmile, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization (type in “New Mexico Wilderness Alliance” in the search box). For eligible purchases at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

    Is there any cost to charitable organizations or to customers?  No. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. The shopping experience is identical to Amazon.com with the added benefit that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Shop AmazonSmile now

  • Huffington Post 
    By Mark Starr
    Program Director, Vet Voice Foundation
    01/08/2014

    They do a lot of things well in New Mexico. It is truly a Land of Enchantment.

    However, one area to address is the protection of significant historical sites and artifacts within the state’s borders.

    This is a shame, considering the wealth of history that can be found in all corners of the state — but especially within the borders of the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico.

    In this region, citizens are fortunate to have a place that is the cultural and historic crossroads not only of New Mexico, but also of the entire Southwest. It is here that the ancient Camino Rael from Mexico City crosses more modern routes such as the Butterfield Stage Trail, which was established in the late 1850s to provide a route for mail to travel from the eastern United States all the way to California.

    Several key stops along the trail were located in the footprint of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal. It’s sad to note that other states, such as Texas and Arizona, have done a better job of highlighting the importance of the Butterfield Stage route for their visitors and residents.

    As an armed forces veteran who served his country with pride and dignity, there are the other places in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks that are close to my heart and equally worthy of permanent protection.

    Did you know the region was a key site for World War II bomber training? It’s true. In the deserts around Las Cruces there are 24 large bulls-eyes that made up the Deming bombing targets. These targets were vital training tools for Army Air Corps pilots during World War II, giving the pilots the opportunity to test secret navigational equipment. The mastery of this equipment ultimately was instrumental in defeating the Nazis.

    Considering the profound historical significance of these places, shouldn’t we do everything we can to ensure their protection so that future generations of Americans can learn of the important deeds that took place here?

    This past December, I was honored to lead a tour for more than a dozen veterans to the Butterfield Stage Trail and the Deming bombing targets. Thanks to help from local historians and resource experts, we provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the region’s storied past and our shared heritage as veterans and American citizens. After being a part of this tour, I am convinced more than ever that these historical sites deserve to be protected.

    The timing of the tour couldn’t have been more perfect, coming one day after Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced a bill, S. 1805, calling for the permanent protection of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument.

    The veterans on our tour and all residents of the Las Cruces area know that a national monument designation will also be helpful for the local economy. One of the veterans on the tour, Bernie Digman, an Army veteran and local business owner, summed these feelings up nicely.

    “When an area is declared a national monument it immediately becomes a sought after destination for travelers,” Digman, who owns a coffee shop, explained. “Last year, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument was designated in northern New Mexico. Visitation to the area increased 40 percent over the prior year and business has picked up. The same effect will play out here in southern New Mexico and I am very excited about these prospects as a business owner.”

    Thanks to the work of Senators Udall and Heinrich, the Butterfield Stage Trail, the Camino Real and the Deming bombing targets would be just some of the sites protected. Also protected would be thousands of archaeological sites ranging from the time of Spanish occupation all the way back to the Archaic Period — literally thousands of years ago. In total, the proposed monument would protect nearly 500,000 acres of wild lands ranging from desert grasslands to jagged peaks, a far-reaching area containing many sites of equal historical importance to the places we visited on last month’s tour.

    I join Senators Udall and Heinrich in imploring the President to do everything in his power to preserve Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks for future generations to learn from and, ultimately, enjoy.

  • Huffington Post 
    By Mark Starr
    Program Director, Vet Voice Foundation
    01/08/2014

    They do a lot of things well in New Mexico. It is truly a Land of Enchantment.

    However, one area to address is the protection of significant historical sites and artifacts within the state’s borders.

    This is a shame, considering the wealth of history that can be found in all corners of the state — but especially within the borders of the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico.

    In this region, citizens are fortunate to have a place that is the cultural and historic crossroads not only of New Mexico, but also of the entire Southwest. It is here that the ancient Camino Rael from Mexico City crosses more modern routes such as the Butterfield Stage Trail, which was established in the late 1850s to provide a route for mail to travel from the eastern United States all the way to California.

    Several key stops along the trail were located in the footprint of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal. It’s sad to note that other states, such as Texas and Arizona, have done a better job of highlighting the importance of the Butterfield Stage route for their visitors and residents.

    As an armed forces veteran who served his country with pride and dignity, there are the other places in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks that are close to my heart and equally worthy of permanent protection.

    Did you know the region was a key site for World War II bomber training? It’s true. In the deserts around Las Cruces there are 24 large bulls-eyes that made up the Deming bombing targets. These targets were vital training tools for Army Air Corps pilots during World War II, giving the pilots the opportunity to test secret navigational equipment. The mastery of this equipment ultimately was instrumental in defeating the Nazis.

    Considering the profound historical significance of these places, shouldn’t we do everything we can to ensure their protection so that future generations of Americans can learn of the important deeds that took place here?

    This past December, I was honored to lead a tour for more than a dozen veterans to the Butterfield Stage Trail and the Deming bombing targets. Thanks to help from local historians and resource experts, we provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the region’s storied past and our shared heritage as veterans and American citizens. After being a part of this tour, I am convinced more than ever that these historical sites deserve to be protected.

    The timing of the tour couldn’t have been more perfect, coming one day after Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced a bill, S. 1805, calling for the permanent protection of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument.

    The veterans on our tour and all residents of the Las Cruces area know that a national monument designation will also be helpful for the local economy. One of the veterans on the tour, Bernie Digman, an Army veteran and local business owner, summed these feelings up nicely.

    “When an area is declared a national monument it immediately becomes a sought after destination for travelers,” Digman, who owns a coffee shop, explained. “Last year, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument was designated in northern New Mexico. Visitation to the area increased 40 percent over the prior year and business has picked up. The same effect will play out here in southern New Mexico and I am very excited about these prospects as a business owner.”

    Thanks to the work of Senators Udall and Heinrich, the Butterfield Stage Trail, the Camino Real and the Deming bombing targets would be just some of the sites protected. Also protected would be thousands of archaeological sites ranging from the time of Spanish occupation all the way back to the Archaic Period — literally thousands of years ago. In total, the proposed monument would protect nearly 500,000 acres of wild lands ranging from desert grasslands to jagged peaks, a far-reaching area containing many sites of equal historical importance to the places we visited on last month’s tour.

    I join Senators Udall and Heinrich in imploring the President to do everything in his power to preserve Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks for future generations to learn from and, ultimately, enjoy.

  • Huffington Post 
    By Mark Starr
    Program Director, Vet Voice Foundation
    01/08/2014

    They do a lot of things well in New Mexico. It is truly a Land of Enchantment.

    However, one area to address is the protection of significant historical sites and artifacts within the state’s borders.

    This is a shame, considering the wealth of history that can be found in all corners of the state — but especially within the borders of the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico.

    In this region, citizens are fortunate to have a place that is the cultural and historic crossroads not only of New Mexico, but also of the entire Southwest. It is here that the ancient Camino Rael from Mexico City crosses more modern routes such as the Butterfield Stage Trail, which was established in the late 1850s to provide a route for mail to travel from the eastern United States all the way to California.

    Several key stops along the trail were located in the footprint of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal. It’s sad to note that other states, such as Texas and Arizona, have done a better job of highlighting the importance of the Butterfield Stage route for their visitors and residents.

    As an armed forces veteran who served his country with pride and dignity, there are the other places in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks that are close to my heart and equally worthy of permanent protection.

    Did you know the region was a key site for World War II bomber training? It’s true. In the deserts around Las Cruces there are 24 large bulls-eyes that made up the Deming bombing targets. These targets were vital training tools for Army Air Corps pilots during World War II, giving the pilots the opportunity to test secret navigational equipment. The mastery of this equipment ultimately was instrumental in defeating the Nazis.

    Considering the profound historical significance of these places, shouldn’t we do everything we can to ensure their protection so that future generations of Americans can learn of the important deeds that took place here?

    This past December, I was honored to lead a tour for more than a dozen veterans to the Butterfield Stage Trail and the Deming bombing targets. Thanks to help from local historians and resource experts, we provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the region’s storied past and our shared heritage as veterans and American citizens. After being a part of this tour, I am convinced more than ever that these historical sites deserve to be protected.

    The timing of the tour couldn’t have been more perfect, coming one day after Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced a bill, S. 1805, calling for the permanent protection of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument.

    The veterans on our tour and all residents of the Las Cruces area know that a national monument designation will also be helpful for the local economy. One of the veterans on the tour, Bernie Digman, an Army veteran and local business owner, summed these feelings up nicely.

    “When an area is declared a national monument it immediately becomes a sought after destination for travelers,” Digman, who owns a coffee shop, explained. “Last year, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument was designated in northern New Mexico. Visitation to the area increased 40 percent over the prior year and business has picked up. The same effect will play out here in southern New Mexico and I am very excited about these prospects as a business owner.”

    Thanks to the work of Senators Udall and Heinrich, the Butterfield Stage Trail, the Camino Real and the Deming bombing targets would be just some of the sites protected. Also protected would be thousands of archaeological sites ranging from the time of Spanish occupation all the way back to the Archaic Period — literally thousands of years ago. In total, the proposed monument would protect nearly 500,000 acres of wild lands ranging from desert grasslands to jagged peaks, a far-reaching area containing many sites of equal historical importance to the places we visited on last month’s tour.

    I join Senators Udall and Heinrich in imploring the President to do everything in his power to preserve Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks for future generations to learn from and, ultimately, enjoy.

  • Associate Press
    Posted: 07/17/2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The first known litter of Mexican gray wolves has been born in the wild as part of a three-year effort to re-introduce the subspecies to a habitat where it disappeared three decades ago, Mexican officials reported Thursday.

    Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas said the wolf pups were sighted in June by a team of researchers in the western Sierra Madre mountains.

    “This first litter represents an important step in the recovery program, because these will be individuals that have never had contact with human beings, as wolves bred in captivity inevitably do,” the commission said in a statement.

    It said the pups appeared to be doing well.

    Mexico began reintroducing wolves in 2011, and the parents of this litter had been released in December with hopes they would reproduce. Authorities seldom reveal the exact location of breeding pairs in recovery programs, to protect endangered species.

    The commission did not respond to requests about how many wolves now live in the wild in Mexico.

    The Mexican gray wolf was almost wiped out in the U.S. Southwest by the same factors that eliminated it in Mexico: hunting, trapping and poisoning.

    The last five survivors in the U.S. were captured between 1977 and 1980, and then bred in captivity. The first wolves were re-introduced into the wild in the Southwest starting in 1998, mainly in Arizona and New Mexico.

    The Mexican gray wolf remains an endangered species in the United States and Mexico.

    But a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annual survey released in January showed there are at least 83 of the endangered predators in Arizona and New Mexico, marking the fourth year in a row the population has increased.

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