Statement from Veterans following hike with DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke

The following statement is from over a dozen veterans following a hike with Secretary Zinke through the Valles Canyon in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument:

“On behalf of the veterans who spent their morning hiking through the Desert Peaks we want to thank Secretary Zinke for giving us the opportunity to show why the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is so important to veterans and our friends and families.

“We told Sec. Zinke that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is an integral part of Doña Ana County’s identity, and we urged him to leave the national monument intact. Our community worked for over a decade to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area, and it should not be undone in a mere 120-days.

“We were discouraged to learn about his interest in shrinking the national monument, especially before meeting with diverse stakeholders today, and after not attending the community town hall last night.

“As a fellow veteran, we hope he understands the values of our public lands. We all fought to protect our country overseas and we are now defending our public lands at home.”