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Week of celebrations will mark Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks’ 1st Anniversary

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2015

Community events begin with May 15 kick-off;
Sen. Heinrich cookout on May 16

(LAS CRUCES) – Local businesses, civic groups and community leaders have planned a week of events and celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (OMDP), which was established by President Obama on May 21, 2014.

The week of celebration begins May 15 with a kick-off event, 5:30 p.m. at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, sponsored by the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

In addition to the events, local businesses will be offering OMDP-related discounts and special offers throughout the week.

All events are open to the public. Visit here for a complete listing of all events.

In addition, local business owners have been featured in a series of short videos and profiles about what the monument means to them. These profiles and videos can be found here. Profiled businesses are also available for media interviews. Contact Carrie Hamblen at 575-496-5242 for details.

Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Anniversary Celebrations for May 15-17:

Friday, May 15th                                        5:30pm to 8pm                       

OMDP Kick-off Celebration at the Farm and Ranch Museum. Featuring a tribal blessing, the unveiling of the OMDP Achievement badge for the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, entertainment, and booths and information related to the monument.  The event will feature a “class picture” taken of all of the groups and individuals who worked to help establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

Event co-sponsored by:  Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Location:  New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces, NM 88011

Cost:  Free

 

Saturday, May 16th                                   8am to noon                                     

OMDP daytime activities at Dripping Springs Natural Area.  Features a bird walk, meet the Hermit of La Cueva, a hike to the Eugene Van Patten Ruins, and an expert talk about the geology of the monument.  The event ends with a special 15th birthday celebration of National Conservation Lands which will include cake and hands-on activities for kids of all ages.

Sponsored by:  Bureau of Land Management

Location:  Dripping Springs Natural Area, Dripping Springs Road.

Cost:  No fees charged May 16th and 17th at Dripping Springs or Aguirre Springs

 

Saturday, May 16th                                   5pm to 9pm                                      

OMDP Big Game Cookout at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park featuring Sen. Heinrich.  Join Senator Martin Heinrich for elk tacos cooked on discos, local beer from High Desert Brewing, live music, and more.

Sponsored by:  New Mexico Wildlife Federation    

Location:  Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, 5000 Calle Del Norte, Mesilla, NM 88046

Cost:  $5.00 Day use fee may apply

 

Sunday, May 17th                                      9am to 10am                                              

OMDP Interfaith Service at Dripping Springs.  Religious leaders from the community will come together to host an interfaith service at the La Cueva amphitheater.

Sponsored by:  NM CAFé

Location:  Dripping Springs Natural Area, Dripping Springs Road.

Cost:  No fees charged May 16th and 17th at Dripping Springs or Aguirre Springs

 

For a full listing of all the week’s events, please visit:

http://locallascruces.com/omdpweek/

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Land Transfer Bill Killed in Santa Fe

For Immediate Release
March 5, 2015

NM Wilderness Alliance turns attention to legislation that would oppose new wilderness around the Pecos

Albuquerque—March 5, 2015—NM HB 291 sailed through its first committee two weeks ago, but a strong push from the conservation community helped table this bill on Monday.

Conservationists were heard loud and clear by the New Mexico House Judiciary Committee, who Monday voted 8-4 to table HB 291, which would have created a study commission to look into the transfer of public lands to the state.

Now, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild) turns its attention to Senate Memorial 40, which opposes any new wilderness in the Pecos. The organization also contests HB 457, which would make oil and gas New Mexico’s official state resource. Both Senate Memorial 40 and HB 457 will be heard in committee Friday, March 6.

On Monday before the vote, NM Wild’s members from across the state rallied to send hundreds of messages to members of the committee saying that this legislation was a bad idea.

“Because of our members efforts in calling and e-mailing representatives, the bill was voted down by both political parties, and was a win for New Mexico and the rest of the country,” said Mark Allison, executive director of NM Wild.

Aside from being unconstitutional, HB 291 was unnecessary and unwanted by New Mexicans.

“Had this bill been passed, New Mexico would have spent years wasting valuable time and resources pursuing an idea which would undoubtedly be litigated relentlessly by both sides, and which would, in the end, be ruled unconstitutional by a Federal court,” said NM Wild Staff Attorney Judy Calman.

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The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild) is a non-profit 501(C)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. The primary goal of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is to ensure the protection and restoration of all remaining wild lands in New Mexico through administrative designations, federal Wilderness designation, and ongoing stewardship.

5th International Mexican Gray Wolf Stamp Released

For Immediate Release
April 6,2015

Contact: Tisha Broska
505-843-8696, ext. 104

NM Wilderness Alliance launches 5th international Mexican gray wolf collector’s stamp

This year’s stamp—chosen from more than 50 entries—inspired by Albuquerque native wolf

 

2015 Wolf StampAlbuquerque—April 6, 2015— The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance just released its 5th international collector’s stamp commemorating the Mexican gray wolf.

Each year, artists from across the country submit their artwork to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, who organizes the contest.

This year’s stamp design, inspired by a former Albuquerque resident Gypsy the wolf, was chosen from more than 50 entries.

Gypsy, a female Mexican gray wolf, was born in 2004 at the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque, as part of the Species Survival Plan and has been a resident of Wolf Haven International in Washington since 2005.

Says artist Skie Bender, “I’ve always been fond of Gypsy for her gregarious albeit shy and curious energy.”

The Mexican Wolf Conservation Stamp is a framing-quality conservation stamp. Native to the Southwest, the Mexican gray wolf—or lobo—was reintroduced to the wild more than 17 years ago through a captive breeding program, yet still struggles to survive with only 109 left in the wild. All proceeds from the stamp benefit Mexican gray wolf conservation and education efforts.

To purchase the 2015 stamp as well as previous years’ stamps, visit nmwild.org/purchasewolfstamp

About the artist: Bender is Education Outreach Specialist at Wolf Haven International, a nonprofit sanctuary for captive-born wolves, located in the small farming community of Tenino, Wash. Bender exhibits her artwork throughout the west and Pacific Northwest. She connects her love for animals with her passion for art by donating proceeds of her paintings to various animal rescue organizations.

Groundbreaking progress for New Mexico: U.S. House passes bill to create Columbine Hondo Wilderness

For Immediate Release
December 4, 2014

The legislation now moves on to Senate

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NM Wild), part of the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition, today celebrated the passage of the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act (S. 776/H.R. 1683), as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 3879). The defense bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. The Columbine Hondo provision in the legislation will protect 45,000 acres of incredible wildlife habitat, an important source of clean water, and a prized hunting and fishing destination.

The Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act was introduced by Senator Tom Udall and co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich. A House companion was introduced by Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) and is co-sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1).

The Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act passed along with several other wilderness bills that would protect almost 250,000 acres of wilderness in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.

“Thank you to Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representatives Luján and Lujan Grisham for your hard work and dedication and for making Wilderness a priority,” said Mark Allison, executive director of NM Wild.

Community support for safeguarding the Columbine Hondo has been broad and deep. The Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition includes business owners, ranchers, sportsmen, Acequia parciantes, mountain bikers, elected officials, conservationists, and others who have worked together for years to preserve this natural treasure.

“NM Wild is proud to be part of a diverse coalition in Taos County that includes elected officials, Acequia partners, land-grant members and livestock grazing permittees,” said John Olivas, traditional community organizer for NM Wild. “We have worked for many years on the Columbine Hondo campaign, and it is wonderful to see each of us reach this historic milestone that will protect 45,000 additional acres in Taos County for future generations.”

“The Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act will forever protect our land and water that the people of Red River and other communities depend upon” said Mayor of Red River, Linda Calhoun. “It is a true bipartisan measure supported by people from all walks of life.”

Just north of Taos, the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the last remaining portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to be designated as wilderness. It is crowned by 13 miles of high alpine ridges and peaks that tower above 11,000 feet, including its high point, Gold Hill at 12,711 feet elevation.

“My family has depended on the Columbine Hondo for years,” said Erminio Martinez, a livestock permittee in Columbine Hondo. “It is our responsibility to preserve our land and water, and I want to thank our Senators and Representatives for working so hard to pass the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Act this year.”

Columbine Hondo is home to elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain lions, black bear, pine marten, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. This area is a significant clean water source for the central Rio Grande Corridor of New Mexico, supplying water to two of the larger Rio Grande tributaries – the Red River and the Rio Hondo. The water safeguarded in the Columbine Hondo area supplies many Acequias used by the local agricultural community.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and I cannot think of a wilderness more deserving of protection than Columbine Hondo,” said Roberta Salazar, Executive Director of Rivers & Birds. “I am thankful that Congress listened to our community and safeguarded this amazing area.”

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