The Organ Mountains Wilderness Study Area.
Credit: flickr, Bob Wick (Bureau of Land Management).
In the poll, which was commissioned by the veterans advocacy group Vet Voice Foundation, nearly three out of four residents of Dona Ana County supported the establishment of a monument to encompass the Potrillo, Sierra de Las Uvas and Robledo Mountain complexes and natural and cultural landmarks within them.
It is only the latest sign that protecting the crown jewel of the southern Rockies is important to New Mexicans. Recently, Senate legislation was introduced to further the process, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell toured the area in late January and attended a public meeting in which a large crowd turned out in support of monument designation.
New Mexico residents: thank Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich for leading the charge to protect this special area.
In the past, veterans supporting monument designation have noted the abundance of military history sites in the Organ Mountains region. Additionally, the monument area would contain about 240,000 acres of protected wilderness. The greater monument area, nearly 500,000 acres, would also allow existing uses like motorized vehicle recreation and livestock grazing. Monument status would strengthen nearby Las Cruces’ standing as a travel destination, create jobs and economic prosperity for the region, and preserve a unique piece of the Southwest’s natural legacy for generations yet unborn.
Wildflowers near the Organ Mountains. Credit: flickr, Bob Wick (Bureau of Land Management).