Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal wins support of El Paso City Council

Las Cruces Sun-News report
October 2, 2012

EL PASO — The El Paso City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting the creation of the historic Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

The designation would protect a variety of historic sites, including petroglyphs and pictographs, the Butterfield Stagecoach trail, the Apollo space mission training sites, the World War II aerial targets, Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, Geronimo’s cave and historic ranch houses, according the resolution.

The establishment of a national monument would also promote tourism and economic development in Las Cruces and the El Paso area, officials with the city of Las Cruces said.

Both the Las Cruces City Council and Doña Ana County Commission have previously passed resolutions in support of the monument, though some county commissioners have since expressed second thoughts, saying ranchers in the area who could be impacted were not given proper notice that the county was preparing to take that action.

U.S. Rep Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has introduced a competing bill that proposes a much smaller monument, solely in the Organ Mountains.

El Paso City Councilor Susie Byrd, who sponsored the resolution, said it made since for that body to weigh in on the proposal.

“The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is an exciting regional preservation opportunity that brings together history, culture, and land in a way that our community is very excited about,” she said in a prepared statement. “El Paso and Doña Ana County are linked not only by the historic Butterfield Stagecoach Trail and our Native American ancestry but also the tourism, economic development and quality of life that this new national monument will bring.”

Troy Ainsworth, former historic preservation officer for the city of El Paso; Renee Frank, a Realtor and president of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce; and Fernando Clemente, a local sportsman and small business owner, also spoke in support of the monument.

The resolution, “respectfully requests that the President of United States use his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as a public legacy…”