President Obama designates Organ Mountains Desert Peaks a national monument

May 2014

Marian NaranjoSanta Fe, New Mexico – Today’s announcement by President Obama to declare Organ Mountain Desert Peaks a national monument under the Antiquities Act was celebrated across the Land of Enchantment. The national monument includes places that chronicle New Mexico’s history including the site of the original US-Mexico border prior to the Gadsden Purchase, training sites for the Apollo Mission (Kilbourne Hole), and thousands of ancient archaeological sites with unique prehistoric rock art carved and painted onto the cliffs. The scenic Organ Mountains offer a spectacular backdrop for amazing cultural destinations within the monument, including the petroglyph-lined canyons of the Sierra de las Uvas Mountains and the sites of numerous well-known western historical figures and events including Billy the Kid, Geronimo, and the Camino Real and Butterfield Stage Coach Trails. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will benefit both the lands and the community. Economic studies show this designation has the potential to add more than $7.4 million in additional annual economic activity and doubling the number of jobs supported by outdoor recreation and tourism industry in the region.

This designation came in response to considerable input and support from the local community, Native American leaders including the All Pueblo Governors Council, the New Mexico and National League of United Latin American Citizens, the New Mexico and Las Cruces Green Chambers of Commerce, local ranchers, sportsmen, faith leaders, archaeologists, historians and numerous local elected leaders.

“Pueblo people from across New Mexico appreciate President Obama acting to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument,” said Marian Naranjo, Executive Director of Honor Our Pueblo Existence, H.O.P.E.  “This sacred area is home to plants, wildlife, and sacred sites that are part of the deep cultural connection between pueblo people and the land. The protection of these lands is essential for ensuring access and enjoyment to these sacred areas for generations to come, Naranjo enthusiastically exclaimed.”

Support for preservation is widespread and was reflected in several recent polls showing a majority of Doña Ana County residents (83%) wanted an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument designation; as well as resolutions of support from Doña Ana County, the cities of Las Cruces, El Paso, and the town of Mesilla.

New Energy Economy, a Santa Fe based nonprofit published a digital photo book highlighting the broad and deep community support for a national monument including sportsmen, business owners, clergy, Native Americans, veterans, farmers, elected officials, and other civic leaders.

“The outpouring of statewide support for protecting Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is because of its multiple uses. One sees evidence of Native Americans grinding pots in outdoor kitchens, grandfathers hunting with their grandsons, mountain bikers enjoying steady climbs, Veterans seeking solace in the vast expanse, and lovers losing themselves under the stars. This magnificent landscape attracts people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy, who helped create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, a digital photo book of photographs that features the diversity of New Mexicans and visitors who love Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

President Obama has responded to the local community and taken decisive action to protect the critical lands of this region and the economic, health, and cultural benefits they provide to the community. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich demonstrated real leadership in their efforts to work with the community and the Administration to ensure these lands are protected for future generations.

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