The Pew Charitable Trusts commended the announcement to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico, calling it a "spectacular natural gift" for the American people. The designation by President Barack Obama will conserve nearly a half-million acres of natural and cultural treasures in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, including the Organ Mountains, the Sierra de Las Uvas Mountains, the Potrillo volcanic field, and rare examples of Chihuahuan Desert grasslands. The president's administrative action will also protect icons of U.S. and New Mexico history.
Joshua S. Reichert, the Pew executive vice president who oversees environmental projects, issued the following statement:
"The American people have been given a spectacular natural gift with the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. For nearly a decade, a diverse constituency of Hispanic leaders, veterans, Native Americans, sportsmen, small-business owners, border security experts, ranchers, faith leaders, historians, and conservationists has worked to ensure that future generations may always hike, hunt, camp, ride, and explore this special place. This week, those efforts will come to fruition.
"The area contains naturally and culturally significant features that are worthy of national recognition. Places like the Organ and Potrillo mountains and sacred Native American sites will be forever safeguarded, thanks to the designation. By helping to boost the local economy through tourism and recreation-related jobs, the national monument is also a good investment in Dona Ana County's economic future," Reichert said.
"Across the nation, other local communities are working to conserve wild areas, including the San Gabriel Mountains outside Los Angeles, Idaho's Boulder-White Clouds area, and the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. We hope that 2014 will be a landmark year for conservation, with more of our common ground protected as a natural legacy."
Information from: Pew Charitable Trusts