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Retired Military Leaders Urge Congress to Reject Efforts to Undo Antiquities Act

(Commentary by Retired Lt. General Clarence “Mac” McKnight)

On Thursday, July 10, the House Committee on Homeland Security held a subcommittee hearing to discuss the “implications for border security” presented by designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks a national monument. Some members of the subcommittee argued the monument designation will curtail border enforcement.

Retired generals with 2,300 combined years of military service to this nation, unequivocally state that this line of pursuit to investigate border issues at the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is just plain wrong-headed. I question the wisdom of any further time on the matter spent by Congress for numerous reasons.

Read more.


Youth Scholarships to National Wilderness Conference

Applications due August 15!

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is committed to leadership development for wilderness advocacy and to ensuring wilderness remains accessible to everyone. As such, NM Wild is awarding scholarships to the Wilderness 50th National Conference to youth who demonstrate leadership or are working towards a leadership role in wilderness education efforts, advocacy and community awareness.

Scholarships will cover conference registration only. The scholarships provide local New Mexico youth who would otherwise be unable to attend an opportunity to go to the conference. The number and amount of scholarships will be based on available funding. Scholarships are open to youth 18-25 years old. Learn more and apply.


Mexico Reports Litter Of Mexican Gray Wolves Born In Wild For First Time In Decades

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 in July.

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. Read more.


The Fall of the Wild? Not Really.

The landmark Wilderness Act is 50 years old, and it’s still working

This September marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act[http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/legisAct], the piece of federal legislation that created a national system of wilderness areas and established the principles for their management. Its passage was a shining moment in American environmental ethics: the statutory affirmation of a nation’s deep regard for the wild and a determination to devote considerable political and material resources to protecting it. Yet today there is a debate brewing about whether the act is still a vital and useful part of our environmental inheritance—or whether its best days may now be behind it.

Read more.


Wilderness50 Challenge: Visiting the Latir Peak Wilderness

In last week’s eNews, we told you about our communications coordinator’s challenge to visit all of New Mexico’s wilderness areas in 2014 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

Read this week’s featured post: Latir Peak Wilderness

PS: We’d like to note this is a personal endeavor (not funded by NM Wild).


Upcoming events


Thinking Wilderness: The Art Show

Calling All Artists – August 2-17, 2014
OCHO Art & Event Space,Questa

Reception: August 9, 2014, from 5-8 p.m.

All local and regional visual artists are encouraged to enter 2 and 3 dimensional artworks for this open exhibition taking place August 2-7, at OCHO Art & Event Space in Questa. Artworks must reflect the wilderness theme and be 150 square inches or less (not including frame, pedestal or display case for jewelry). Exhibition details and downloadable application HERE. Questions? Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 575-586-2362.


Wetland Restoration in Grassy Creek

Calling all volunteers!

August 8-10, 2014
Registration dealine: August 1

This is the Quivira Coalition’s 12th year of working in the Comanche Creek Watershed. Come get your hands dirty and your feet wet! Join Quivira staff Craig Sponholtz, Bill Zeedyk, and volunteers in the beautiful high mountain meadows of Grassy Creek, a tributary of Comanche Creek in the Valle Vidal unit of Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico on August 8-10 for a weekend of restoration work and camping. LEARN MORE AND SIGNUP ONLINE. It is very important that you register prior to the workshop in order to receive all of the information you’ll need in advance.


NM Wild Night Out at O’Niell’s

August 9, 2014 from 5-8 p.m.

On Saturday, August 9, NM Wild will serve as guest bartenders at O’Niell’s in Nob Hill Albuquerque. Please put it in your calendars!

IMPORTANT: Please print out your event ticket here and bring to the event and O’Niell’swill give $3 to NM Wild. There will also be complementary hors d’ouervres.


Gila Wilderness Inventory Workshop

August 9-10, 2014

DESCRIPTION: This year marks the 90th anniversary of America’s first wilderness—the Gila. In honor of this momentous occasion, we are hosting a series of workshops to train citizens on how to conduct wilderness inventories in the Gila National Forest, as well as how to conduct citizen monitoring in wilderness areas. Among other things, participants will:
Learn how to operate GPS software and use it to collect data Learn how to perform a wilderness inventory and evaluation Learn how to identify signs of wildlife Learn how to monitor human impacts in wilderness Gain a greater understanding of Forest Service directives and regulations

As a part of the workshop, participants will be provided with a detailed handbook in advance and will spend a full day conducting fieldwork in the Gila National Forest in order to gain a better understanding of the training.

Learn more and sign up here


Save the Date to Save the Lobo

Your voice needed at public hearing
Wednesday, August 13 (Please note this is a correction from last week)

Civic/Convention Center
400 W 4th Ave, Truth or Consequences
Refreshments start at 2 p.m. | Public hearing from 6-9 p.m.

Sixteen years after they were reintroduced, only 83 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild. The wild lobos are struggling for their survival. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed changes to Mexican wolf management—two good changes and many more that will worsen the lobo’s already-tenuous plight. The USFWS will hold public hearings on its proposal. You and other supporters of the Mexican wolf are all that will stand between extinction and survival for these critically endangered, beautiful, intelligent animals. Please speak up for the lobo at a hearing in August.

We will have activities and refreshments for wolf supporters at both locations starting by 2 p.m.–check back at www.mexicanwolves.org for updates as the date gets closer! A critical mass of supporters at these hearings can turn the tide for the Mexican gray wolf. Please save the date and spread the word! For more information, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Pecos Roadless Area Inventory

August 15-17, 2014
Northern New Mexico

DESCRIPTION: Arrive Friday for dinner and camp two nights at Agua Piedra Campground on N.M. 518 in Tres Ritos. On Saturday, take an easy hike 2 miles up Agua Piedra Creek through the proposed Special Management Area to the boundary of the northern Santa Barbara Roadless area. Hikers may continue on a strenuous hike (an additional 7.5 miles with 2,000-plus foot elevation gain) through the roadless area ending at Santa Barbara Campground. A shuttle will be provided from Santa Barbara campground back to Agua Piedra.

Learn more and sign up here.


Wildlife in the Early Hours

August 19, 2014
Las Cruces Area

DESCRIPTION: Wildlife is always most active in the early hours. Can you get up early enough to see them? Join area experts to learn more about animals like mule deer, javelina and elusive desert pronghorn antelope—and hopefully see some of them in their beautiful native habitats! We will hike into the Sierra de Las Uvas grasslands.

Learn more and sign up here.


North Sandia Peak Hike

August 23, 2014
Sandia Crest

We’ll do the hike to North Sandia Peak with field biologist Nathan Peterson. It is a fairly easy 3.6-mile round-trip from the crest. There is a $3 parking fee at the crest—federal passes are honored. During the hike, we will discuss some of the mammals found in the Sandia Mountains. Great hike to escape the summer heat!

Sign up here


Monsoon Wildflower Explosion

August 23, 2014
Las Cruces Area

DESCRIPTION: Late summer monsoons bring a desert and grassland flower bonanza with them. We’ll travel to some of the most beautiful stands that are hidden away in the Sierra de Las Uvas grasslands. These verdant landscapes are some of the most important bird, animal and plant habitats anywhere in southern New Mexico, and you’ll be our guest as we see them in what is hopefully full bloom!

Learn more and sign up here.


Gila Wolf Backpack

August 29-September 1, 2014

DESCRIPTION: A four-day, three-night luxury backpack trip looking for wild Mexican wolves in the Gila Wilderness. Our expert guide, Dave Parsons, led the wolf reintroduction project for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 90s. No one knows more about Mexican wolves or has done more for them than Parsons. This is a truly unique opportunity to spend time with a wilderness hero in a place he knows and loves like no other. We will be looking for wolves and other wildlife while enjoying the natural beauty of one of the most spectacular wild places in the lower 48 states. Zack Crockett with Gila Backcountry Services will be providing pack mules to haul most of our gear in, and he will also be providing all of our meals.

Learn more and sign up here.


Wilderness Day at Isotopes Park

Celebrate Wilderness with Us!

Monday, September 1, 2014
1:35 p.m. at Albuquerque Isotopes Park
Come out with family and friends to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and watch the Albuquerque Isotopes play the Las Vegas 51′s.

Let’s see how many wilderness supporters we can get in the crowd!

Learn how to get a discounted $8 ticket to the game here!


Thinking Wilderness Online Residency

September 3, 2014

First Wilderness Thinker in Residence featured here on the Thinking Wilderness website and other venues TBA. Chosen featured thinkers will also be announced with the launch of the project.


NeoRio 2014: Thinking Wilderness

September 6, 2014
Wild Rivers, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Launching the “Wilderness Thinkers in Residence Project”

NeoRio will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in its own way, with the launch of the “Wilderness Thinkers in Residence” project, featuring the first Thinker in Residence as the NeoRio Featured Artist. Join us for the NeoRio featured artist lecture, hands-on experience of artwork & evening celebration on the gorge on September 6. More information about the annual NeoRio event can be found at www.leapsite.org