If Las Cruces and southern New Mexico is “land rich,” as many residents have said for years, then it could be time to finally cash in. In recent weeks, support for an initiative to designate those open, pristine lands as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has grown. A coalition now in excess of 175 entities representing a noticeable cross section of residents has steadily picked up steam…
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has joined the effort to get the Organ Mountains designated as a national monument, introducing a bill in Congress this week that organizers of the original monument proposal said falls short of offering the protection needed….
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., introduced a bill late Thursday that would establish most of the Organ Mountains in southern New Mexico as a national monument.
Pearce told the Journal his bill represents a compromise between those who prefer more restrictive federal wilderness designation for the mountains and those who prefer fewer restrictions on development and use.
A group of war veterans sponsored by the Vet Voice Foundation is pushing for the Organ Mountains to be a designated national monument. The group is made up of veterans from various wars including Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.
On a tour of various landmarks in the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region on Wednesday, Southern New Mexico veterans from every branch of the military discussed their strong shared support for protecting rich public lands within the Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks region in Doña County. Veterans spoke of the importance of having protected mountains and open space at home for veterans to recreate and provide a sanctuary.
Tony Cano, a New Mexico State University history major, wants the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument to become a reality. So does Bernie Digman and Peter Ossorio, who with Cano, are all Las Cruces military veterans.
Wilderness effort makes new appeal: Petition cites history in seeking to establish national monument status
With Congress unlikely to pass public land protections in the near future, supporters of wilderness protections in Doña Ana County are starting a new drive to convince President Barack Obama to grant national monument status to the Organ Mountains and other areas.
“It’s time to get it done, it’s time it happened,” said Billy Garrett, Doña Ana County commissioner, and retired deputy general superintendent of the Gateway National Recreation Area, in the port of New York and New Jersey.
Garrett was the master of ceremonies at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum, where politicians, as well as business, education, and civic leaders, representing 175 entities, gathered to endorse the proposal.