Local Viewpoints
9:53 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Udall, Heinrich Introduce New Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Monument Bill

Credit Courtesy: NMFO
Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act. The Act would designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. 

The proposal would establish a new national monument that would be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and would include eight new wilderness areas.

Senator Udall says having a National Monument would help bring tourism dollars to Southern New Mexico along with creating new job opportunities, while protecting outdoor recreation activities in the region.

“Designating a national monument would put the Organ Mountains and other spectacular areas of Doña Ana County on recreation maps around the world, attracting tourists to Southern New Mexico, creating jobs and bringing in millions of dollars in tourism revenue, Udall said. “The Organ Mountains and surrounding area form a beautiful and iconic backdrop for Las Cruces and are beloved by New Mexicans. Our bill would help ensure local families and visitors will continue to be able to hike, hunt, and learn from the thousands of significant historic sites throughout the hills for generations to come.”

Senator Heinrich says a national monument will offer economic and tourism opportunities. The Senator says that traditions and cultural resources need to be protected to ensure a link between the past and the future.

“The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region offers outstanding cultural resources, tourism and recreational opportunities like hunting, hiking, and camping, and links us strongly to our past. For years, diverse coalitions in New Mexico have worked tirelessly for its permanent protection. By designating this natural treasure a national monument, a critical piece of our shared outdoor heritage will be protected for us now and for future generations of Americans to enjoy,” Heinrich said. “I look forward to working with Senator Tom Udall and communities across New Mexico to get this done.”

The bill aims to conserve land in an area stretching across the Organ, Doña Ana, Potrillo, Robledo and Uvas mountains.  

The proposal also attempts to address existing grazing rights and vehicular access to 100 percent of roads leading to currently used water wells, troughs and corrals, and it enhances hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. It will also aim to establish watershed restoration to prevent flooding.

The proposed bill also aims to addresses border security in the region by releasing wilderness study areas within five miles of the international border, creating a buffer area for Border Patrol activities, and adding an additional road for border security purposes.