Otero Mesa: Our National Treasure

Excerpts:

Otero Mesa is a land of superlatives. It is the largest remaining Chihuahuan grassland left in the United States of America. Over 500,000 acres of Otero Mesa qualify for Wilderness designation, making it the largest potential wilderness area left in New Mexico.

... And it is owned by all of us. Otero Mesa encompasses 1.2 million acres of public land, shared by all Americans. Each of us can say we have access to America's wildest grassland. While the land is locally important to those who live near the Mesa, like students from Alamogordo, Las Cruces, and El Paso who have access to a virtual 'outdoor museum' that is home to over 1,000 native wildlife species at their fingertips, it is also shared by those of us who live at a distance. Otero Mesa is a nationally significant wild land, the kind of primitive place that preserves our natural and historic heritage in an increasingly rare way.

... Unbelievably to those of us who cherish Otero Mesa and what it represents, a Colorado-based corporation called Geovic Mining Corporation has targeted the heart of Otero Mesa for hard rock mining. Geovic has staked claim to a surface area equivalent to five square miles, a space about the size of Midtown Manhattan.