Organ Mountains- Desert Peaks to Become Nation’s Next National Monument
Washington, D.C. -- The Sierra Club today praised the news that President Obama will designate New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area as our country’s next national monument. The steep-sided crevices, canyons and majestic spires of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks host stunning views, great recreation opportunities, archaeological sites and native plants found nowhere else in the world.
“We’re thrilled that President Obama will use his authority to protect this important piece of America. As the crown jewel of the southern Rockies, there is no place quite like it on Earth,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, who visited the area with his family last fall. “Thanks to this designation, families will be able to experience the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks’ cultural sites, rugged landscape, and wildlife for years to come.”
The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument includes beloved places like the Robledo Mountains, Broad Canyon, and the Valles Canyon Petroglyphs. Its designation will preserve irreplaceable archaeological and prehistoric sites, which span thousands of years of human history and chronicle New Mexico’s history and culture. It will also safeguard outdoor recreation areas that are so important for tourism and the quality of life in New Mexico. A recent economic study found that national monument designation would give a $7.4 million boost to the economy and double the number of jobs supported by outdoor recreation.
“Protecting public lands like the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area is a win-win for us all,” said Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter. “It’s good for families and getting Americans outdoors, businesses and the benefits of increased tourism, and the simple and wonderful protection of an irreplaceable landscape .”
The designation follows years of effort by local communities and lawmakers to see the area protected. More than 15,000 people submitted public comments supporting a monument designation, adding their voices to those of national business leaders, elected officials, and recreation and conservation groups, including more than 35 local Hispano leaders, Native American communities including Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and U.S. Senators Udall and Heinrich. The broad public support for the designation further underscores how out of step with public opinion recent efforts are in Washington, D.C. to undermine the president’s ability to name national monuments.
“This designation will be a recognition that like the cultural and historic sites already protected by President Obama our country’s wide open spaces and large natural areas are an important part of the American story,” concluded Brune.
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