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Public News Service – NM | May 20, 2014 | Download audio

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Following years of work by many people in New Mexico, President Barack Obama will designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument.

The president is expected to formalize the designation Wednesday.

Mark Allison, executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, says his group is among a broad coalition of organizations and people that worked together over the past decade to get the monument designation.

“It really represents years of work and broad-based community support and a very diverse coalition of folks that include business leaders, faith community, scholars, sportsmen and conservationists,” he says. “And I think it’s been described as a national model.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney says by establishing the monument the president will permanently protect more than 496,000 acres to preserve the prehistoric, historic and scientific values of the area for the benefit of all Americans.

Allison agrees, noting that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument preserves and protects an immense area of wilderness, mountains, Native American culture and New Mexico history for generations to come.

“Industrial uses – oil, gas, mining – things like that will be prohibited,” he points out. “And the area will be protected for traditional uses including grazing, but also recreation, and obviously the wildlife and habitat and biodiversity, and all those important resources as well.”

The national monument designation is expected to create millions of dollars of economic gain through new tourism in Southern New Mexico.