Monument would benefit Mesilla Valley

By Carrie Hamblen / Executive Director, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
Sep 19, 2013

albuquerque-journal

BBC Research & Consulting, an independent economic research firm, recently released a report examining the economic impacts of a potential new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

The details of this report make the case that supporting efforts to create this new national monument is in the best interest of the people of New Mexico, particularly southern New Mexico.

According to the report, which was sponsored by the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would bring $7.4 million of additional annual revenue to the area. This additional revenue would be created by new tourists, sportsmen and other visitors drawn by the national monument to Doña Ana County.

The new money that travelers bring to the area will also have a significant positive impact on our current employment situation. A projected increase in visitation to a new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument will create 88 new jobs, according to the BBC report.

On top of that, spending by these visitors would generate an additional $562,000 per year in combined state and local government tax revenue.

We cannot ignore the opportunity that is in front of us. The avenues for outdoor recreation in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks are abundant. Whether you are a fan of hunting, hiking, camping or cycling, there is something for you in this region.

It is important that we capitalize on all of the recreational activities that surround us by permanently protecting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks so others from all across the country will be encouraged to come and visit the region.

There is also the natural beauty of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, the value of which can never be estimated by an economic impact report. The jagged peaks of the Organ Mountains are a defining landmark of the Southwest, and are among the most memorable visual spectacles in all of New Mexico. The Uvas, Robledo, Potrillo, and Doña Mountains are also a part of the region, hovering high above the Mesilla Valley. When you come to the area, you are immediately aware that you are in the presence of rare natural wonders.

Another priceless feature of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region is the area’s rich history. From the Camino Real to the Butterfield Stagecoach Route to training sites for World War II pilots and Apollo Astronauts, this region is a true crossroads of American and human history.

As Executive Director of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, I am fully aware of the constant struggle to create new jobs. With all of the studies on jobs created by public lands, including this recent one, it would be foolish to think a national monument wouldn’t result in increased economic opportunity for our state.