March 15, 2015
POSTED: 10:07 PM MDT Mar 15, 2015
Nearly a year after President Obama proclaimed the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks a national monument, the designated area now has a sign to showcase its significance.
Volunteers with “Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks,” officials with the Bureau of Land Management and other local groups, worked together Sunday to install and unveil the sign.
“This will be the first sign that we install. It’ll be a sign that says Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks,” Bill Childress, District manager for the Las Cruces Bureau of Land Management, said.
Volunteers tell Abc-7 the sign is a product of their hard work.
“This is a culmination of 12 years of a lot of folks trying to get protection for the Dona Ana County Community,” Angel Pena, with “Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks,” said.
It was indeed a rocky road to designation. Critics were upset about the potential change. Some were afraid it would restrict local law enforcement agencies along the border. Supporters believed it would help preserve the area.
Finally, in May of 2014–President Obama signed a proclamation to secure the federal land.
“it makes a decision that these peaks will be retained in federal ownership and managed for public use and variety of uses. We still have multiple uses, but we will not dispose of the land and the lands will be set aside for mineral development,” Childress said.
More than 500-thousand acres of land are considered part of the monument, including the Dona Ana mountains, Picacho Peak, the Robledos, Sierra de Las Uvas, the Potrillo mountains and the Organs.
“We’lll have these signs within the four distinctive areas,” Childress said.
The installation itself took no more than an hour. Together, volunteers shoveled dirt, laid cement and added the finishing touches to secure the sign–symbolic of their journey to secure the federal land.
“The Organ Mountains are so iconic in this community and now it’ll be protected…forever and ever,” Childress said.