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Nuestra Tierra, Our Land – Our Future Highlights Hispanic Support for Land Protection

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2012

Local and statewide Hispanic leaders including a former Governor, Attorney General, and Land Commissioner joined hundreds of local citizens in calling on elected officials to protect Southern New Mexico icons including the Organ Mountains during a press conference today at the base of Tortugas Mountain (“A” Mountain). The group — Nuestra Tierra, Our LandOur Future is focused on the deep connections and history many Hispanic residents share with natural gems in Doña Ana County.

In conjunction with the press conference, the group sent letters to President Obama and members of the New Mexico congressional delegation urging immediate protection of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak region.  You can view the letter here:  http://donaanawild.org/nuestratierra.php

The Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region includes the Organ, Robledo, Sierra de las Uvas, and Potrillo Mountains and important areas adjacent to them. In addition to vast ecological values, these areas also include well known historical events and figures including Billy the Kid, Geronimo, Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, Gadsden Purchase international boundary, and thousands of archeological sites from earlier Native American cultures.  Much of this region is currently proposed for protection by Senators’ Bingaman and Udall in the Organ Mountains – Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, S. 1024, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2011.  The Act would protect nearly 400,000 acres of public land in Doña Ana County, by designating 271,050 acres as wilderness and creating a 109,600-acre National Conservation Area around the Organ and Doña Ana Mountains and parts of Broad Canyon

“In a time when so many Hispanics and Hispanic business owners are struggling to find work, we have an incredible opportunity right now to give our region a significant long term economic boost by protecting the Organ Mountains and other treasures in our area. I am honored to join others in calling for the permanent protection of these natural areas now, for our people and for our economy,” said Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces President John Muñoz.

“As a former Attorney General for New Mexico I have seen many parts of this great state and country,” said former two term New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid. “Without question, the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region has some of the most breathtaking vistas in all the southwest. It is up to our generation to protect these incredible lands as both the key to celebrate our history, as well as a birthright of future generations.”

“Los Organos—the Organs, have been an essential part of Hispano culture in this valley for hundreds of years,” said former state representative J. Paul Taylor. “They were a landmark for travelers on the Camino Real, and a consistent source of food, shelter, and materials for local residents. Now, they are more important than ever as we teach our youth the values of stewardship and care that other generations have learned in their shadow.”

“Having grown up in Vado and being involved deeply in my community, I believe we are entrusted with caring for these lands and celebrating our connection to them,” commented Sarah Nolan, Executive Director of CAFÉ, a faith based community organization. “We must pass along pristine places like the Organ and Sierra de las Uvas Mountains for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

“Hunting traditions in places like the Potrillo Mountains are a critical part of the life and traditions of New Mexican sportsmen,” added Ray Trejo, president of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and a Deming resident. “We are proud  to join with the diverse group of citizens who are calling for the protection of these and other key landmarks, that are so important to Hispanic sportsmen, and all sportsmen.”

Several speakers featured at the press conference also made video testimonials calling on Congress and President Obama to protect the Organ Mountains. You can view the videos here: http://donaanawild.org/nuestratierra.php

To speak with one of the press conference participants or a letter signatory, please contact

Nathan Small, (575) 496-9540, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Release: Hispano, Green Chambers of Commerce Applaud Reintroduction of Wilderness Protection Bill

For Immediate Release
Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011

Contact: Gabe Vasquez, Executive Director, Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces
Phone: 575-532-9255
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact: Elisa Cundiff, Executive Director Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 575-649-7694
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hispano, Green Chambers of Commerce Applaud Reintroduction of Wilderness Protection Bill

Las Cruces, N.M. – The Las Cruces Hispano and Green Chambers of Commerce joined today to applaud the reintroduction of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act – now known as the Organ Mountains-Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act – into Congress.

The Organ Mountains-Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, seeks to create wilderness and conservation areas in Doña Ana County that provide for continued public use while protecting the granite peaks and foothills of the Organ Mountains, as well as the volcanic cinder cones of the Potrillo Mountains, among other public lands in the county.

“This legislation will be a tremendous asset in our ability to recruit good companies and jobs to Doña Ana County,” said John Munoz, President of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces. “Entrepreneurs want to live in an area with a high quality of life for them and their families. Protecting Doña Ana County’s incredible wilderness areas will play an important role in securing our quality of life and our economic future.”

When the bill was introduced during the last session of Congress, the bill was given a unanimous “voice vote” approval, clearing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Both Bingaman and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall were sponsors of the bill.

“Numerous studies have shown that communities with protected lands nearby have higher than average personal income growth and job creation. The reason is simple – people are attracted to the high quality of life associated with beautiful views, undisturbed wild lands, recreation, cultural and historical landmarks, clean air and water, and diverse wildlife. If passed by Congress, this legislation will be a boost to businesses in Doña Ana County, creating more jobs in the recreation and tourism industries and continuing to attract people who want to live and work here. We can’t thank Senators Bingaman and Udall enough for their efforts.” said Renee Frank, President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce.

Much of the wilderness area targeted for protection by the new legislation has been managed as a “Wilderness Study Area,” a Bureau of Land Management designation, since the 1980s when the Reagan Administration set it aside for protected status. If passed, the bill would create about 241,400 acres of wilderness and 99,150 acres of National Conservation Area (NCA). These areas would then be managed in ways that protect the landscape and environment from development while preserving existing uses – such as hunting, hiking and grazing.

About the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces: The Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces, through its diverse membership, advocates for business growth in the community and promotes Las Cruces and Hispanic business owners through economic development, education, community service, and cultural awareness. The Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces was initiated in 1992 as the Hispano Chamber of Doña Ana County, and in 1994 incorporated as The Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces. The original founders consisted of a group of businesspersons interested in developing a support organization for small, Hispanic businesses.

About the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce: The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, a chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, is a network of businesses dedicated to building a healthy, vibrant, and diverse local economy in Las Cruces and the surrounding areas. The mission of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce is to foster the success of the local economy and to promote businesses committed to environmental and social responsibility.

 

New Mexico Celebrates “Great Outdoors Week”

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2011

Contact:  NATHAN NEWCOMER
NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE, 505-250-4225

New Mexico Celebrates “Great Outdoors Week”
Conservation, Recreation Groups Call on Congress to Protect National Forests and Wilderness

Albuquerque, NM (August 22, 2011) – State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and other elected officials join conservation groups and leaders  from across the country to celebrate America’s Great Outdoors and call on Congress to protect America’s national forests, wilderness and other wild lands.   The week, which runs from August 20 to August 28, will feature a series of outdoor activities that highlight the importance of public lands in New Mexico and nationwide to outdoor recreation, water and wildlife, and local economies.

“New Mexico is known around the world for its natural beauty, air quality which includes the vast terrain we have of unsurpassed quality of mesas, valleys, highest peaks and bountiful lakes allowing folks to hunt, hike, ski, boat and enjoy recreational activities under the New Mexico sun,” said State Land Commissioner, Ray Powell.

As part of the celebration, State Land Commissioner, Ray Powell, County Commissioner John Olivas and other leaders issued proclamations and statements that echoed President Theodore Roosevelt’s definition of a good citizen as one who pulls his own weight by “calling upon the residents to observe and participate in this week with appreciation for America’s immeasurable public lands.”

Great Outdoors Week comes as Congress is considering legislation that would open up more than 60 million acres of national forest roadless tracts and Wilderness Study Areas – an area the size of Wyoming – to new development. The measure is only one of multiple attempts by lawmakers in Washington, DC to undo fundamental environmental protections for clean air, clean water, endangered species and public lands. 

“With more than half of our public lands already open to full-scale development, and less than three percent of New Mexico’s wild lands permanently protected, we call on our leaders to give meaningful protection to the rest so that they can be enjoyed by future generations,” said Nathan Newcomer, Associate Director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates there were more than 173 million recreation visits to U.S. Forest System lands in 2009, with more than 57 percent of those visits for activities such as hiking, mountain biking and fishing. More than two-thirds of Americans participate in outdoor recreation activities annually on our public lands – including hiking, biking, camping, climbing, kayaking, fishing, canoeing and snowshoeing – contributing $730 billion to the U.S. economy and $3.8 billion annually to New Mexico’s economy.

“New Mexico’s Great Outdoor’s are truly a priceless treasure, and I hope this week’s activities will encourage New Mexican’s of all ages to explore our public lands and perhaps try out a new outdoor recreational activity,” said Mora County Commissioner, John Olivas. “I also hope many will be inspired to help protect our natural resources, which is not only critical for the health of the environment, but also for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Read some of the proclamations and messages for New Mexico’s Great Outdoors Week:

State Land Office Message on Great Outdoors Week

Questa Proclamation

More County Resolution

Press Release: Local Sportsmen and Back Country Horsemen Organizations Call for Protection of Wilderness

For Immediate Release
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Contact: Jim Bates, Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen Vice President
Phone: 575-644-7751
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact: Don Patterson, Back Country Horsemen of America, Lower Rio Grande Chapter
Phone: 575-649-5584
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Local Sportsmen and Back Country Horsemen Organizations Call for Protection of Wilderness

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2011

backcountry horsemn NM logo

With the introduction of the Organ Mountains/ Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act today in Congress, local sporting and horse riding organizations are calling for the final protection of Doña Ana County’s wild lands.

“We are thrilled to see Senators Bingaman and Udall renew our community’s efforts to permanently protect our natural treasures, like the Organ Mountains and Broad Canyon.  Efforts to protect these places have been going on for over 30 years.  Its time we get on with it, and pass this bill now for the future of Doña Ana County,” stated Don Patterson, Vice-President of the Lower Rio Grande Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of America.

DAC sportsmen logo 222x250“Sportsmen applaud the tremendous leadership of Senators Bingaman and Udall.  With the rapid loss of open space and high quality habitat, it’s so important that we secure the natural treasures that are left. We need to do this for our heritage, our families, our wildlife, and for our future.  This legislation is very well thought out, and we are proud to support it,” stated Jim Bates, Vice President of the Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen.

CONTACT :

Jim Bates, Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen Vice President: (575) 644-7751 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Don Patterson, Back Country Horsemen of America, Lower Rio Grande Chapter: (575) 649-5584 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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