New Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Photo Book Puts Faces on Broad Support for National Monument

New Energy Economy
January 23, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. – New Energy Economy this week released a digital photo book featuring the diverse supporters and landscape of the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, located on public lands outside of Las Cruces in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. The digital photo book is a slideshow that highlights the broad and deep community support for a national monument including sportsmen, business owners, clergy, Native Americans, veterans, farmers, elected officials, and other civic leaders.

This book is being released in advance of U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s visit to Las Cruces later this week.

One sportsman leader, Jim Bates of Las Cruces, says that the proposed national monument would ensure that the many outdoor activities in the area will remain accessible for all time.

“The ability to participate in outdoor recreational pursuits is an important part of the attraction of Doña Ana County, as well as being an iconic piece of our American Heritage,” Bates said. “Whether your preferred form of recreation is hunting, horseback riding, hiking, or bird-watching, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks has something to offer everyone. These lands deserve to be protected, not only for the sake of those that wish to visit them, but for the abundance of wildlife and vegetation that occupy them as well.”

Nora Barraza, Mayor of the Town of Mesilla, says that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks’ ability to attract these visitors helps to sustain local economies in the region. According to Barraza, a national monument designation would only improve these economic prospects, referencing a recent economic study that found that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would generate $7.4 million in new annual economic activity and create 88 new jobs.

“The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would increase the flow of visitors to the area,” Barraza said. “With an increase in tourism, businesses will have an opportunity to flourish in Las Cruces and towns like Mesilla. This revenue generation by these businesses will allow owners to hire new employees.”

The release of New Energy Economy’s digital photo book comes approximately one month after Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich co-sponsored legislation to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy, says that the digital photo book will give other members of Congress and President Obama an opportunity to see for themselves why creating the monument is so important.

“The purpose of this digital photo book is to show national leaders what those of us in New Mexico already know—that a national monument at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is overwhelmingly supported by the local community, and in fact, by New Mexicans statewide,” Nanasi said.

“We believe that once members of Congress, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and President Obama see the images of this beautiful and culturally significant place, they will act to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as the nation’s newest national monument.”

The digital photo book can be viewed here