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Troy Wilde, Public News Service-NM

(03/12/14) LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Some southern New Mexico businesses are backing the effort to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument, and seeing it as an opportunity to help market their products.

Several business owners are attending an event at the Las Cruces Farmers Market today, where conservation groups will announce that they’ve collected more than 14,000 signatures in support of the national monument designation.

Ariana Parsons, who owns Beck’s Coffee in Las Cruces, said she thinks protecting the area is in the best interest of the local economy as well as the environment.

“Tourists are coming to the area, and coming to the Farmer’s Market, because we have this unique landscape,” she said. “So, absolutely it’s a huge part of our business.”

Parsons says her business has developed a specialty coffee called the “Organ Mountain Blend” as a way to support the Organ Mountains while increasing the company’s bottom line. Another local business, the Happy Dog Food Truck, has created a “Desert Peaks Hot Dog” for its menu.

Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks was among the conservation groups that helped collect the signatures. Lucas Herndon, the group’s executive director, said the petition soon will be on its way to President Obama.

“They will be sent directly to the White House and are addressed to the president, asking him to use his powers under the Antiquities Act to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as soon as he can,” Herndon said.

Obama added the 1,600-acre Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands north of San Francisco to the California Coastal National Monument on Tuesday. Herndon is hopeful that his Golden State action is a positive indicator of things to come in the Land of Enchantment.

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