History runs deep here in New Mexico, and intertwined with the land and culture. The proposed Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument, near Las Cruces, is an exceptional example of history held in the land. From Geronimo’s Cave and Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock to thousands of ancient Native American petroglyphs, the area contains many unique American and pre-American treasures, including an estimated 5,000 archaeological sites. The Organ Mountains are mentioned in the earliest Spanish journals dating back to the late 1500s.
These stunning peaks and the nearby Doña Ana Mountains rise from a desert landscape that hosts golden eagles, Montezuma quail, and mountain lions, as well as rare plants like the Organ Mountain pincushion cactus. The region is rich in recreational opportunities — horseback riding, mountain biking, climbing, and hunting. The Headwater Economics 2012 Study of Doña Ana County stated that protection of this area could “safeguard important natural assets and cultural landmarks, stimulate tourism and recreation jobs, and attract new people and businesses.” In 2005 local religious, veterans, and conservation and sportsmen’s groups launched a coalition to win protection for the area and fend off ongoing threats from urban development and proposed mining and energy development.
The Sierra Club is working to:
- Protect the area by urging President Obama to designate a Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, and shield more than 400,000 acres from damaging energy development and mining, while giving wildlife room to roam and providing economic opportunity for Las Cruces and the surrounding area.