For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Allison, Executive Director, New Mexico Wild, (505) 239-0906
Bill to protect wilderness within Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument moves forward
Las Cruces, New Mexico (February 7, 2018) – New Mexico Wild joined sportsmen, Native Americans, business owners, veterans, law enforcement officials, civic groups, current and former local elected officials, archaeologists, historians, and conservation organizations to applaud the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act (S.441). A broad coalition successfully worked to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has been advocating for wilderness protection of these areas for a decade.
The bill, introduced by New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, would designate eight wilderness areas within the national monument totaling 241,067 acres. Eighty percent of the proposed wilderness is already managed as such, including eight wilderness study areas.
Legislation to safeguard the wilderness in Doña Ana County was first introduced by former Senator Jeff Bingaman in 2009 in the 111th Congress, and then again by Senators Udall and Heinrich in the 112th and 113th Congresses.
Hunting, livestock grazing, hiking, camping, horseback riding, firefighting, law enforcement activities, and border security would continue in the wilderness areas. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks contains approximately 306 bird species and 78 mammal species including golden eagles, mule deer, javelina, cougar, ring-tail cat, and quail.
A 2016 poll showed 78 percent of citizens in Doña Ana County support the protection of wilderness within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
“New Mexicans are rightly proud of the importance of these areas to our natural and cultural heritage,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild. “Once again, Senators Udall and Heinrich have demonstrated the vision and leadership to go to bat for New Mexicans to protect the Land of Enchantment. They are doing what we all want the rest of congress to be doing – offering solutions.”
ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance or “New Mexico Wild” is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), independent, homegrown, grassroots, conservation organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. With staff and thousands of supporters throughout the state, New Mexico Wild is dedicated to the rights and the value of citizen involvement in protecting increasingly rare wild places within public lands. Just as freedom is every American’s birthright so too is Wilderness.