Community Quotes

Hispanic and Native American leaders and organizations, small business owners and the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, along with sportsmen, ranchers, elected officials, faith leaders, veterans and conservation organizations have come together to thank President Obama for designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

Read quotes from:

To schedule interviews, please contact Chris Cervini at 505-980-6110.

Elected Officials

  • “For over a decade, community support has steadily grown for protection of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area. On behalf of the residents of Doña Ana County, I want to thank Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, Secretary Sally Jewell, and President Obama for making that vision a reality. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will help protect our way of life while allowing for responsible development and expanding opportunities for all Americans to enjoy the beauty and multi-cultural history of this unique landscape.”
    –          Billy Garrett, Dona Ana County Commissioner Chairman 
  • “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks draw people from around the state and country for its cultural heritage and natural beauty. Our new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will increase appreciation of and visitation to these lands.  I want to thank Senators Udall and Heinrich for their leadership in helping us protect this rich heritage.  By designating these lands as a national monument, Secretary Jewell and President Obama have conserved the crossroads of New Mexico’s diverse history and culture.  This is a tremendous boost for local recreation and tourism.”
  • –  Nora Barraza, Mayor of the Town of Mesilla


  • “This designation is a long time coming, and we are excited that Doña Ana County is finally going to be able to reap the economic benefits of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument,” Hamblen said. “I applaud President Obama for doing the right thing by making the public lands and the people of southern New Mexico a priority.”
    – Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
  • “The new visitors that this designation will bring to our communities means that our area’s business owners, especially those in the hospitality and outdoor recreation industry, are going to have the opportunity to expand their businesses and bring on new employees to meet the increased demand. Economically speaking, the new monument is a win for everyone living in Doña Ana County.”
    – Philip San Filippo, Director of the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau, Las Cruces
  • “As a  homebuilder and fourth generation Las Crucen, my company is living proof of the economic benefit preserving the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks will provide. I want to thank all of those involved who have worked so tirelessly to  safeguard our most precious resource so Doña Ana County will always be a great place to live in and visit.”
    – Wayne Suggs, Owner Classic New Mexico Homes
  • “Tourism is one of the staples of our economy. Now that Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is a national monument we hope to see an influx of new visitors traveling to the area and spending money at businesses like mine. The economic rewards for our community will add up quickly, including new jobs.
    – Monika Denton, General Manager of the Ramada Palms Hotel and Conference Center, Las Cruces


  • “As a rancher and sportsman who grazes livestock on public lands in southern New Mexico, I have a daily appreciation for the role of our public lands play in our way of life here. That’s why I support the establishment of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The protections that national monument status will provide means that the multiple uses that I rely on will continue under good land management.”
    – Lee Henderson, Rancher, South La Jencia Ranch, Magdalena, New Mexico
  • “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will allow ranchers to continue grazing and should lead to better travel management. It will also protect our public lands for tourism and recreation – an important part of our economy. Without lasting protection, these public lands could be overly developed and we could see also wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities degraded. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will preserve what makes southern New Mexico special and allow present and future generations to have a place to hike, hunt and explore.”
    – Dale Henderson, Rancher, Dusty Ranch, Winston, New Mexico
  • “As a grazing permittee in Taos County, I believe that public land protection ensures my livelihood will remain in place and that I can pass my family’s ranching traditions along to my children and grandchildren. As a resident of Taos County, I’ve seen ranching remain a focus of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.”
    —Erminio Martinez, Grazing Permittee, Taos County, 12th generation New Mexican

Hispanic Leaders

  • “New Mexico LULAC and our community are very happy President Obama is protecting the rich Hispanic and Latino heritage and culture that defines the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. These public lands bind us to our history and traditions, and keep us connected with our families today. Recognizing the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument honors our state’s Hispanic heritage and culture.”
    – Ralph Arellanes, New Mexico State Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area is integral to Latino history, and continues as an important place for hunting and recreation. Protecting these lands as a National Monument preserves an important place to the heritage of Latinos in the Southwest, and ensures that our children and all who come after them can enjoy these lands.”
    – Max Trujillo, Deputy Director, HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors)

Native American Leaders

  • “Many tribes have a special love for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in Doña Ana County, and are humbled by its natural and cultural gifts.  We are grateful that President Obama and Secretary Jewell, with support from Senators Udall and Heinrich, have listened to our community and designated these sacred public lands as a national monument. These lands are where our Pueblo ancestors walked and are rich in history and natural beauty. These lands are critical for our children and grandchildren—for our future.”
    Rafael Gomez, Jr., Tribal Council Member of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo


  • “Designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument ensured that we can pass our sportsmen traditions on to the next generation.  We applaud President Obama, our Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Secretary Sally Jewell for conserving important hunting areas like the Sierra de Las Uvas, West Potrillo and Robledo Mountains.”
    – John Cornell, President of Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen
  • “Many outdoor enthusiasts believe that the opportunity to participate in outdoor recreational pursuits is a significant part of the attraction of Doña Ana County, and is an important and iconic piece of our American Heritage.  The newly designated Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has something to offer everyone, from hunters, horseback riders, hikers, and bird-watchers. Our elected officials understood that these lands deserved protection, not only for the sake of those that wish to visit them, but to protect the magnificent and scenic landscapes and the various species of wildlife and the varied habitats they occupy, as well.”
    – Jim Bates, Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen
  • “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will conserve some of the most wild and majestic Chihuahuan Desert landscapes in the state, as well as important hunting grounds close to Las Cruces. We want to thank President Obama for taking action to keep these lands open for hunters and all citizens.”
    – Oscar Simpson, Chairman of the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers


  • “Congratulations to President Obama for protecting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This designation will stimulate the local economy, preserve our history, and protect a beautiful part of our nation — while allowing Border Patrol to continue doing their job keeping our public lands among the most secure along the Southwest border.”
    – U.S. Army Brig. General Steven M. Anderson (Retired)
  • “The new Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument conserves the natural beauty of these public lands, but also important historical sites. President Obama protected the World War II-era bullseye aerial bombing targets as part of the National Monument so that our kids and grandkids can learn about our nation’s past — and the unique role New Mexico played in preparing our country for war. To me, protecting our public lands for the next generation is as much an obligation as serving our nation in war time. I’m glad Senators Udall and Heinrich and President Obama got it done.”
    – Bernie Digman, Las Cruces veteran, member of the nonprofit Vet Voice Foundation
  • “By designating the Organ Mountains as a national monument, President Obama is protecting historic public lands that contributed greatly to our military heritage. During World War II, the Army Air Corps conducted trainings in and around the Organ Mountains. They helped create secret navigational technology that shortened the war in Europe, saving lives. President Obama is making the right call by preserving these important military heritage sites, while also securing our southwest border.”
    – Michael Breen, Truman Project Executive Director and former U.S. Army Captain

Faith Leaders

  • “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region is filled with many spiritually significant sites that at risk of being vandalized, destroyed or developed. But thanks to President Obama’s efforts – and the work of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Senators Heinrich and Udall – these sacred lands will receive needed protection forever, allowing Americans to enjoy them for generations to come.”
    – Sarah Nolan, Executive Director, New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith (CAFé), Las Cruces, NM
  • “We believe that God has made us stewards of the environment for a reason, and that reason is so we will protect his sacred creation. Diverse leaders and members from Doña Ana County’s interfaith community have been advocating for an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument for quite some time now, and it feels wonderful knowing that President Obama listened to us and acted to protect our public lands.”– Father Vince Petersen of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Tortugas, NM
  • “I am very pleased that President Obama is acting to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument. These public lands are a precious gift from God. We have been called to be stewards over these lands and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect them for future generations to experience.”
    – Rabbi Larry Karol of Temple Beth El in Las Cruces


  • “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument protects thousands of years of artifacts of human history.  Young people helped to inventory and document the cultural and historic significance of these public lands, and thanks to President Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, people of all ages will be able to enjoy the complex riches of these lands for generations to come.”
    – Ceci Vasconcellos, Executive Director, Groundwork Doña Ana County
  • “Protecting America’s most special places is at the heart of what conservation corps do across the country every day.  We applaud President Obama’s decision along with the leadership of Secretary Jewell and Senators Udall and Heinrich to listen to the calls from the local community to designate the beautiful Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks a national monument.  The national monument will ensure that these special lands, which encapsulate the wonder and beauty of New Mexico’s scenic, historic and cultural treasures, will be protected for future generations of Americans to enjoy.”
    – Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO, The Corps Network


  • “Audubon New Mexico thanks President Obama for recognizing the importance of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area to our nation’s biodiversity by designating this incredible landscape in Southern New Mexico as our nation’s newest National Monument. Permanently protecting the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks will ensure that sky islands and critical grasslands that support more than 210 species of birds will remain intact, while at the same time protecting jobs in New Mexico’s tourism and outdoor recreation economy. Today’s action by President Obama protects the interests of both wildlife and people, while ensuring a rich legacy for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”
    – Carol Beidleman, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon New Mexico