Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is in southern New Mexico for a hike through a rugged stretch of desert.
She's also here to discuss federal legislation that aims to protect the Organ Mountains along with other scenic areas near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Jewell, officials with the Bureau of Land Management and New Mexico's two U.S. senators are hosting a public hearing on the proposal Friday afternoon at 3pm at the Ramada Palms in Las Cruces. Several hundred people are expected to attend.
Under the legislation, about 780 square miles would be designated as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The effort has been more than a decade in the making.
The monument would include eight wilderness areas, prompting concerns among some law enforcement officials that the proposal could limit their ability to patrol the area.
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