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2012

  • Associated Press

    February 20, 2012

    The number of endangered Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona continues to rise. State and federal biologists found at least 58 wolves in their latest count, up from 50 the previous year and 42 in 2009.

    Arizona State University biology professor Philip Hedrick calls the increase good news, but says the best news is that the number of breeding pairs has risen from two to six.

    “If you think about it, that’s only 12 animals that are contributing to the next generation for this year, so that’s not a huge number – even though it’s a lot better than just two, last year.”

    The total wolf count needs to be much larger in order to produce a long-term stable and sustainable population – perhaps four times as many wolves, Hedrick explains. That increase would not sit well with ranchers in western New Mexico and eastern Arizona, who have long complained that the wolves kill cattle and sheep.

    Kim McCreery is a staff scientist for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. She says a few pairs of breeding wolves are not enough for genetic diversity, which means reduced litter size and an increase in pup mortality. McCreery adds that what is needed for a healthier population is more wolves on the ground. She suspects that politics may be getting in the way.

    “We need a rule change. We need U.S. Fish and Wildlife to change a rule saying that captive-bred wolves can only be released in the primary recovery zone, which is in Arizona.”

    While seeking changes in regulations that limit wolf releases in New Mexico, McCreery says scientists are conducting an experimental program: training wolves to reject the taste of livestock.

    “The wolves have been conditioned to not want to eat something because they associate it with a chemical that doesn’t taste good to them, that kind of makes them feel, for a while, not very good.”

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has worked with ranchers to keep the wolves away from livestock, noting that only one problem wolf has had to be permanently removed in the past five years.

    The Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program began in 1998, with a goal of 100 wolves by 2006.

  • For Immediate Release
    January 19, 2012

    Local and statewide Hispanic leaders including a former Governor, Attorney General, and Land Commissioner joined hundreds of local citizens in calling on elected officials to protect Southern New Mexico icons including the Organ Mountains during a press conference today at the base of Tortugas Mountain (“A” Mountain). The group — Nuestra Tierra, Our LandOur Future is focused on the deep connections and history many Hispanic residents share with natural gems in Doña Ana County.

    In conjunction with the press conference, the group sent letters to President Obama and members of the New Mexico congressional delegation urging immediate protection of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak region.  You can view the letter here:  http://donaanawild.org/nuestratierra.php

    The Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region includes the Organ, Robledo, Sierra de las Uvas, and Potrillo Mountains and important areas adjacent to them. In addition to vast ecological values, these areas also include well known historical events and figures including Billy the Kid, Geronimo, Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, Gadsden Purchase international boundary, and thousands of archeological sites from earlier Native American cultures.  Much of this region is currently proposed for protection by Senators’ Bingaman and Udall in the Organ Mountains – Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, S. 1024, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2011.  The Act would protect nearly 400,000 acres of public land in Doña Ana County, by designating 271,050 acres as wilderness and creating a 109,600-acre National Conservation Area around the Organ and Doña Ana Mountains and parts of Broad Canyon

    “In a time when so many Hispanics and Hispanic business owners are struggling to find work, we have an incredible opportunity right now to give our region a significant long term economic boost by protecting the Organ Mountains and other treasures in our area. I am honored to join others in calling for the permanent protection of these natural areas now, for our people and for our economy,” saidHispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces President JohnMuñoz.

    “As a former Attorney General for New Mexico I have seen many parts of this great state and country,” said former two term New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid. “Without question, the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region has some of the most breathtaking vistas in all the southwest. It is up to our generation to protect these incredible lands as both the key to celebrate our history, as well as a birthright of future generations.”

    “Los Organos—the Organs, have been an essential part of Hispano culture in this valley for hundreds of years,” said former state representative J. Paul Taylor. “They were a landmark for travelers on the Camino Real, and a consistent source of food, shelter, and materials for local residents. Now, they are more important than ever as we teach our youth the values of stewardship and care that other generations have learned in their shadow.”

    “Having grown up in Vado and being involved deeply in my community, I believe we are entrusted with caring for these lands and celebrating our connection to them,” commented Sarah Nolan, Executive Director of CAFÉ, a faith based community organization. “We must pass along pristine places like the Organ and Sierra de las Uvas Mountains for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

    “Hunting traditions in places like the Potrillo Mountains are a critical part of the life and traditions of New Mexican sportsmen,” added Ray Trejo, president of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and a Deming resident. “We are proud  to join with the diverse group of citizens who are calling for the protection of these and other key landmarks, that are so important to Hispanic sportsmen, and all sportsmen.”

    Several speakers featured at the press conference also made video testimonials calling on Congress and President Obama to protect the Organ Mountains. You can view the videos here: http://donaanawild.org/nuestratierra.php

    To speak with one of the press conference participants or a letter signatory, please contact

    Nathan Small, (575) 496-9540, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • For Immediate Release

    Local and statewide Hispanic leaders including a former Governor, Attorney General, and Land Commissioner joined hundreds of local citizens in calling on elected officials to protect Southern New Mexico icons including the Organ Mountains during a press conference today at the base of Tortugas Mountain (“A” Mountain). The group — Nuestra Tierra, Our Land – Our Future is focused on the deep connections and history many Hispanic residents share with natural gems in Doña Ana County.

    In conjunction with the press conference, the group sent letters to President Obama and members of the New Mexico congressional delegation urging immediate protection of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak region.  You can view the letter here:  http://donaanawild.org/nuestratierra.php

    The Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region includes the Organ, Robledo, Sierra de las Uvas, and Potrillo Mountains and important areas adjacent to them. In addition to vast ecological values, these areas also include well known historical events and figures including Billy the Kid, Geronimo, Butterfield Stagecoach Trail, Gadsden Purchase international boundary, and thousands of archeological sites from earlier Native American cultures.  Much of this region is currently proposed for protection by Senators’ Bingaman and Udall in the Organ Mountains – Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, S. 1024, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2011.  The Act would protect nearly 400,000 acres of public land in Doña Ana County, by designating 271,050 acres as wilderness and creating a 109,600-acre National Conservation Area around the Organ and Doña Ana Mountains and parts of Broad Canyon

    “In a time when so many Hispanics and Hispanic business owners are struggling to find work, we have an incredible opportunity right now to give our region a significant long term economic boost by protecting the Organ Mountains and other treasures in our area. I am honored to join others in calling for the permanent protection of these natural areas now, for our people and for our economy,” said Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces President John Muñoz.

    “As a former Attorney General for New Mexico I have seen many parts of this great state and country,” said former two term New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid. “Without question, the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks region has some of the most breathtaking vistas in all the southwest. It is up to our generation to protect these incredible lands as both the key to celebrate our history, as well as a birthright of future generations.”

    “Los Organos—the Organs, have been an essential part of Hispano culture in this valley for hundreds of years,” said former state representative J. Paul Taylor. “They were a landmark for travelers on the Camino Real, and a consistent source of food, shelter, and materials for local residents. Now, they are more important than ever as we teach our youth the values of stewardship and care that other generations have learned in their shadow.”

    “Having grown up in Vado and being involved deeply in my community, I believe we are entrusted with caring for these lands and celebrating our connection to them,” commented Sarah Nolan, Executive Director of CAFÉ, a faith based community organization. “We must pass along pristine places like the Organ and Sierra de las Uvas Mountains for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

    “Hunting traditions in places like the Potrillo Mountains are a critical part of the life and traditions of New Mexican sportsmen,” added Ray Trejo, president of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and a Deming resident. “We are proud  to join with the diverse group of citizens who are calling for the protection of these and other key landmarks, that are so important to Hispanic sportsmen, and all sportsmen.”

    Several speakers featured at the press conference also made video testimonials calling on Congress and President Obama to protect the Organ Mountains. You can view the videos here: http://donaanawild.org/nuestratierra.php

    To speak with one of the press conference participants or a letter signatory, please contact 

    Nathan Small, (575) 496-9540, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • By Allison Sherry
    The Denver Post
    Sept. 19, 2012

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will designate Chimney Rock as a national monument Friday — a move that will help preserve the 4,726 acres in southwestern Colorado, administration officials told The Denver Post Wednesday.

    Chimney Rock comprises a chunk of the San Juan National Forest and is surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

    The land will be managed by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service and White House officials said they will work with the tribes in the area.

    Ranchers who use the area for grazing will maintain those rights as well, administration officials said.

    The site is deeply spiritual to the Southern Utes. Ancestors used the rock to see “lunar standstills” — a phenomenon that only happens every 18.6 years when the moon rises exactly between the two stone pillars of Chimney Rock.

    Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress has been working on this designation for two years, but it had stalled in the U.S. Senate.

    Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, who represents the area, sponsored a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May.

    Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, sponsored companion legislation in the Senate, but it never passed.

    This is the third designation Obama has made under the Antiquities Act.

  • By , Published: June 10 in The Washington Post

     
    For American presidents, protecting the country’s last wild places has long been a matter of legacy. Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument after failing to make it a national park. Jimmy Carter forced Congress to designate more than 66 million acres in Alaska as wilderness. George W. Bush preserved 140,000 square miles of ocean in Hawaiias a national monument.President Obama’s record remains largely unwritten. He has declared two historic sites, totaling less than 15,000 acres, as national monuments. The one wilderness bill he signed — establishing 2.1 million acres of wilderness in nine states, including Virginia, Michigan and Oregon — came from a bipartisan deal struck by the Bush administration.
    w wilderness 300x371

    (The Washington Post/Pew Environment Group)

    He has displayed only a modest personal interest in wilderness protection. And although he has spoken movingly of a family visit to Yellowstoneat age 11, he spends more of his free time golfing or on the beach than hiking or horseback riding through national parks.Administration officials insist that the president cares about the wilderness but that he faces political and fiscal constraints.“The reality is that this president has had challenges on his plate that no modern president has had to deal with, ending two wars, saving the economy. This has been a very time-consuming four years,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an interview. He added that Obama has “a great connection” with the outdoors. “In terms of conservation, the president and the first lady, they’re with us.”

    The struggle over managing the nation’s 650 million acres of federal land involves ranchers, energy firms, environmentalists, riders of off-road vehicles, anglers and a host of other players. Over the years, differing layers of protection were developed to satisfy this array of constituencies.

    Wilderness, which is designated by Congress, is the highest level of protection for federal land and prohibits all mechanized activity, including bicycle riding. National monuments can be declared by presidents unilaterally and give varying but significant protection. National parks allow a range of activities but aim to keep “the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife . . . unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

    Obama would have made more national monument designations but faced resistance on the grounds that the designations could hamper activities such as energy exploration and off-road vehicle use, said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who chairs the House Natural Resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands.

    “I don’t look at [Obama] as cautious,” Bishop said. “I look at him as being busted.”

    Reasons for reluctance

    Most presidents have made their most ambitious monument designations in their second terms.

    Mike Matz, who directs the Campaign for America’s Wilderness at the Pew Environment Group, said he understands why the administration would be reluctant to create major monuments right now.

    “I don’t think they want to raise a ruckus in the West and have opposition from the other side of the aisle criticize them on it,” he said.

  • Brian Merchant
    treehugger.com
    October 12, 2012

    There goes Scandinavia again, making the rest of the world look bad. Here’s the Guardian (via Grist):

    Norway is to double carbon tax on its North Sea oil industry and set up a £1bn fund to help combat the damaging impacts of climate change in the developing world.

    In one of the most radical climate programmes yet by an oil-producing nation, the Norwegian government has proposed increasing its carbon tax on offshore oil companies by £21 to £45 (Nkr410) per tonne of CO2 and a £5.50 (Nkr50) per tonne CO2 tax on its fishing industry.

    To reiterate: Norway is doubling its carbon tax on oil producers and then giving the proceeds to projects that help the climate in developing countries.

    Subtext: Norway kicks ass.

    Obviously, it’s easier for Norway to levy such a fee, since much its oil industry is, you know, state-owned (the Norwegian government owns a 67% stake in Statoil, the biggest company in the region). As such, Norwegian oil companies, while far from perfect, are not Ecuador-decimating, climate change denial-promoting, private corporations with lobbying fleets the size of the navy. There will be no multimillion dollar campaign to convince the public that climate change is a hoax, and that small fees on their product will bankrupt the economy.

    Norway’s government is going above and beyond to demonstrate its willingness to be a good global citizen, to do its part to slow the rise climate change. The U.S. isn’t doing shit.

  • Jeff Kart, Treehugger.com
    March 17, 2012

    Sad news out of the Isle Royale National Park, way up in Michigan, where scientists say there’s only one female gray wolf left in the nine that still roam a chain of islands in western Lake Superior. It’s the lowest population ever recorded there, in 54 years.

    According to AP:

    There were 24 wolves — roughly their long-term average number — as recently as 2009.

    “The wolves are at grave risk of extinction,” said Michigan Tech University wildlife biologist John Vucetich.

    Humans probably aren’t (directly) to blame for this one. Isle Royale National Park is one of the least-visited in the U.S., reportedly the only known place where wolves (for now) live beside moose, without bears. You need a boat or seaplane to get there. No hunting.

    The study of wolves and moose on Isle Royale is said to be one of the world’s longest-running of predators and prey in a single ecosystem, at more than 50 years.

    This year’s winter study (see Vucetich’s blog in The NYT) left researchers with “some grave realizations,” they wrote in a recent Facebook post.

    Reported reasons for the near-extinction:

    A shortage of females has cut the birth rate, while breakdown of several packs boosted inbreeding and weakened the gene pool. Other troubles include disease and starvation from a drop-off of moose, the wolves’ primary food source.

    The question now is, what to do? Should humans intervene by bringing in wolves from the mainland, or let nature take its course? The wolf researchers prefer the latter, but say wolves should still be brought in to keep the moose population (about 750) under control.

    Minnesota Public Radio talked to Michigan Tech wildlife biologist Rolf Peterson, who has been part of the long-running wolf study for more than 40 years.

  • Jeff Kart, Treehugger.com
    March 17, 2012

    Sad news out of the Isle Royale National Park, way up in Michigan, where scientists say there’s only one female gray wolf left in the nine that still roam a chain of islands in western Lake Superior. It’s the lowest population ever recorded there, in 54 years.

    According to AP:

    There were 24 wolves — roughly their long-term average number — as recently as 2009.

    “The wolves are at grave risk of extinction,” said Michigan Tech University wildlife biologist John Vucetich.

    Humans probably aren’t (directly) to blame for this one. Isle Royale National Park is one of the least-visited in the U.S., reportedly the only known place where wolves (for now) live beside moose, without bears. You need a boat or seaplane to get there. No hunting.

    The study of wolves and moose on Isle Royale is said to be one of the world’s longest-running of predators and prey in a single ecosystem, at more than 50 years.

    This year’s winter study (see Vucetich’s blog in The NYT) left researchers with “some grave realizations,” they wrote in a recent Facebook post.

    Reported reasons for the near-extinction:

    A shortage of females has cut the birth rate, while breakdown of several packs boosted inbreeding and weakened the gene pool. Other troubles include disease and starvation from a drop-off of moose, the wolves’ primary food source.

    The question now is, what to do? Should humans intervene by bringing in wolves from the mainland, or let nature take its course? The wolf researchers prefer the latter, but say wolves should still be brought in to keep the moose population (about 750) under control.

    Minnesota Public Radio talked to Michigan Tech wildlife biologist Rolf Peterson, who has been part of the long-running wolf study for more than 40 years.

  • one last

  • one last

  • spring 2012 fundraiser chaco banner copy

    Thank you for your generosity and all that you have done to support New Mexico’s wilderness. I want to remind you that we have a very generous matching contribution of $15,000 for our spring fundraiser-that means each dollar you give will be matched for a limited time, and that also means your impact on New Mexico’s wildest lands will be doubled! Yesterday, we made great strides toward our goal, but we know that we can do even better! Please give now to protect our state’s wildest public lands and be part of New Mexico’s wilderness legacy.

    If you have ever traveled to Chaco Canyon and gazed upon the beauty of Fajada Butte—looked out across the San Juan Basin from Pueblo Bonito to see Hosta Butte—you have experienced the natural and cultural power that has been Chaco through the ages. This “viewshed” from Chaco to the Chuska Mountains, Mt. Taylor and other significant sacred and geological sites is one of the many reasons Chaco is so special. This magnificent view is possible because of the area’s excellent air quality.  But oil and gas drilling on state lands within view of the park’s visitor center continues to be a looming threat. Oil field dust, air pollutants and noise will reduce visibility while also threatening the health of people living downwind from the development, including those on adjacent Navajo lands.

    We are on the ground working to ensure the land surrounding the Chaco viewshed is protected from oil and gas development. Please help us protect Chaco Canyon from this threat by giving now.

    Chaco Canyon, once the cultural hub of the entire Four Corners Region, is a World Heritage site—one of only eight cultural sites with this designation in the United States. It is still considered sacred by virtually all of the Pueblos as well as the Navajo. It is a cultural jewel of New Mexico with a unique landscape that is unparalleled in the world. It is a place of crystal blue sky and phenomenal views. It holds some of the cleanest air in our country. These are some of the things you will find in Chaco and the reason that we are working to ensure it is preserved for future generations. It’s just that special.

    Will you help us further our work to expand the park boundaries and secure Wilderness designation for the unique and powerful landscape that is Chaco? 

    Please join us in protecting Chaco for future generations. Thank you for your support.

    demis

    Demis Foster

    Santa Fe Director

    Donate Online

  • The Albuquerque Journal
    Guest Opinion

    By Gill Sorg
    April 13, 2012

    Over the past few weeks there has been a groundswell of support for establishing a national monument in Doña Ana County. And for good reason: the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would protect our region’s iconic mountain views, preserve our community’s heritage and showcase the national significance of these special places.

    Responding to public requests from local businesses, local elected officials, community leaders, sportsmen and veterans, U.S. Reps. Martin Heinrich and Steve Pearce both recently endorsed proposals to create a national monument in Doña Ana County. While the proposals differ, Pearce noted that community support was the key. “A very important element of this is that local groups are calling for it,” he said when announcing his support for a monument.

    So what exactly are local groups calling for? Put simply, the community has asked President Obama to protect our public lands in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area that define who we are as New Mexicans. This week the Town of Mesilla unanimously passed a resolution in support of this proposal, and Doña Ana County and Las Cruces will be considering resolutions of support shortly.

    The vision is to protect the places where we hunt, the areas where take our families on hikes and picnics, and the spectacular mountain views that frame Las Cruces and inspire us every day. These are the lands we have inherited from past generations, the lands that have helped shape our way of life, and the lands that we in turn want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

    Community leaders like state Sen. Steve Fischmann, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagashima and Doña Ana County commissioners Billy Garrett and Scott Krahling have joined groups including the High Tech Consortium of Southern New Mexico, Communities in Action and Faith and Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen in calling on the president to protect not only the Organ Mountains, but also parts of the nearby Potrillo, Robledo and Doña Ana mountains, the Broad Canyon area and Sierra de las Uvas. Hundreds of business owners support this vision, as well as dozens of sportsmen, conservationists, archeologists, veterans and cultural preservation experts.

    The comprehensive monument proposal is about more than simply protecting our backyard. Every stage of North American history can be found here, and the proposal would preserve this history for all Americans.

    The Robledo Mountains contain pre-dinosaur footprints and a petrified forest buried in the strata. Stories of Native American cultures are literally written on the walls as petroglyphs in the twisting canyons in the Broad Canyon complex. The Needles in the Organ Mountains were a significant landmark for travelers on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Our country’s path of westward expansion is seen in the Butterfield Stagecoach Route that runs through the Sierra de las Uvas Mountains. Geronimo and Billy the Kid both sought refuge in the Robledo Mountains. And to the south, Aden Lava Flow was used a training ground for Apollo 12 astronauts when the west was settled and our country took to exploring the next frontier: space.

    These areas define our frontier heritage and our country’s character. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal would protect this varied history and these hidden gems. Individually these stunning public lands provide the best hunting, the best hiking and the best scenery in Doña Ana County. But together these areas help tell the story of who we are as New Mexicans and as Americans. For our community and our country, all of these cherished lands should be protected for continued benefit for future generations.

    Gill Sorg is a Las Cruces City Councilor.

  • The Albuquerque Journal
    Guest Opinion

    By Gill Sorg
    April 13, 2012

    Over the past few weeks there has been a groundswell of support for establishing a national monument in Doña Ana County. And for good reason: the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would protect our region’s iconic mountain views, preserve our community’s heritage and showcase the national significance of these special places.

    Responding to public requests from local businesses, local elected officials, community leaders, sportsmen and veterans, U.S. Reps. Martin Heinrich and Steve Pearce both recently endorsed proposals to create a national monument in Doña Ana County. While the proposals differ, Pearce noted that community support was the key. “A very important element of this is that local groups are calling for it,” he said when announcing his support for a monument.

    So what exactly are local groups calling for? Put simply, the community has asked President Obama to protect our public lands in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area that define who we are as New Mexicans. This week the Town of Mesilla unanimously passed a resolution in support of this proposal, and Doña Ana County and Las Cruces will be considering resolutions of support shortly.

    The vision is to protect the places where we hunt, the areas where take our families on hikes and picnics, and the spectacular mountain views that frame Las Cruces and inspire us every day. These are the lands we have inherited from past generations, the lands that have helped shape our way of life, and the lands that we in turn want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

    Community leaders like state Sen. Steve Fischmann, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagashima and Doña Ana County commissioners Billy Garrett and Scott Krahling have joined groups including the High Tech Consortium of Southern New Mexico, Communities in Action and Faith and Southwest Consolidated Sportsmen in calling on the president to protect not only the Organ Mountains, but also parts of the nearby Potrillo, Robledo and Doña Ana mountains, the Broad Canyon area and Sierra de las Uvas. Hundreds of business owners support this vision, as well as dozens of sportsmen, conservationists, archeologists, veterans and cultural preservation experts.

    The comprehensive monument proposal is about more than simply protecting our backyard. Every stage of North American history can be found here, and the proposal would preserve this history for all Americans.

    The Robledo Mountains contain pre-dinosaur footprints and a petrified forest buried in the strata. Stories of Native American cultures are literally written on the walls as petroglyphs in the twisting canyons in the Broad Canyon complex. The Needles in the Organ Mountains were a significant landmark for travelers on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Our country’s path of westward expansion is seen in the Butterfield Stagecoach Route that runs through the Sierra de las Uvas Mountains. Geronimo and Billy the Kid both sought refuge in the Robledo Mountains. And to the south, Aden Lava Flow was used a training ground for Apollo 12 astronauts when the west was settled and our country took to exploring the next frontier: space.

    These areas define our frontier heritage and our country’s character. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument proposal would protect this varied history and these hidden gems. Individually these stunning public lands provide the best hunting, the best hiking and the best scenery in Doña Ana County. But together these areas help tell the story of who we are as New Mexicans and as Americans. For our community and our country, all of these cherished lands should be protected for continued benefit for future generations.

    Gill Sorg is a Las Cruces City Councilor.

  • Las Cruces Sun-News report
    October 2, 2012

    EL PASO — The El Paso City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting the creation of the historic Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    The designation would protect a variety of historic sites, including petroglyphs and pictographs, the Butterfield Stagecoach trail, the Apollo space mission training sites, the World War II aerial targets, Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, Geronimo’s cave and historic ranch houses, according the resolution.

    The establishment of a national monument would also promote tourism and economic development in Las Cruces and the El Paso area, officials with the city of Las Cruces said.

    Both the Las Cruces City Council and Doña Ana County Commission have previously passed resolutions in support of the monument, though some county commissioners have since expressed second thoughts, saying ranchers in the area who could be impacted were not given proper notice that the county was preparing to take that action.

    U.S. Rep Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has introduced a competing bill that proposes a much smaller monument, solely in the Organ Mountains.

    El Paso City Councilor Susie Byrd, who sponsored the resolution, said it made since for that body to weigh in on the proposal.

    “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is an exciting regional preservation opportunity that brings together history, culture, and land in a way that our community is very excited about,” she said in a prepared statement. “El Paso and Doña Ana County are linked not only by the historic Butterfield Stagecoach Trail and our Native American ancestry but also the tourism, economic development and quality of life that this new national monument will bring.”

  • Las Cruces Sun-News report
    October 2, 2012

    EL PASO — The El Paso City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting the creation of the historic Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    The designation would protect a variety of historic sites, including petroglyphs and pictographs, the Butterfield Stagecoach trail, the Apollo space mission training sites, the World War II aerial targets, Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, Geronimo’s cave and historic ranch houses, according the resolution.

    The establishment of a national monument would also promote tourism and economic development in Las Cruces and the El Paso area, officials with the city of Las Cruces said.

    Both the Las Cruces City Council and Doña Ana County Commission have previously passed resolutions in support of the monument, though some county commissioners have since expressed second thoughts, saying ranchers in the area who could be impacted were not given proper notice that the county was preparing to take that action.

    U.S. Rep Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has introduced a competing bill that proposes a much smaller monument, solely in the Organ Mountains.

    El Paso City Councilor Susie Byrd, who sponsored the resolution, said it made since for that body to weigh in on the proposal.

    “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is an exciting regional preservation opportunity that brings together history, culture, and land in a way that our community is very excited about,” she said in a prepared statement. “El Paso and Doña Ana County are linked not only by the historic Butterfield Stagecoach Trail and our Native American ancestry but also the tourism, economic development and quality of life that this new national monument will bring.”

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  • By Avicra Luckey | New Mexico Daily Lobo

    Environmental activist Demis Foster said young people can bring out-of-style causes back into the public eye with fresh ideas.

    Foster began her career as an activist in 1987 as a volunteer with the Wolf Recovery Foundation while still in college at Boise State University. After graduation, she moved to Seattle and continued her volunteer work with the Pacific Crest Biodiversity Project.

    She spoke in front of an art studio class in the Cochiti room in the SUB Tuesday. Students gathered around a preserved Mexican Gray Wolf, which she said was the original “Lobo Louie.”

    The exhibit was put together by artist and graduate student Daniel Richmond and features memorabilia and photos of “Lobo Louie” on display.

    An English major, Foster always thought she would travel the world and teach, but once she experienced the rainforest, everything changed.

    “I realized when I graduated from college and moved to the rainforest, how significant and amazing the rainforest was,” she said. “When I saw that it was being destroyed so quickly and needlessly, all of a sudden I knew immediately I needed to do something, and the next thing I knew I was volunteering.”

    She has been an environmental activist for the better part of the last 20 years. Foster is most well-known for her work with the Ancient Forest Roadshow, a campaign to bring attention to clearcutting of ancient forests by driving a 450-year-old Douglas-fir tree around to 38 states.

    Richmond said as the UNM Lobos, a great way for UNM students to show Lobo pride is to get behind the Mexican Gray Wolf restoration effort.

    He asked Foster to speak to his art studio class about the role artists can play in social and environmental movements.

    “I thought it was a good venue to show them the (exhibit), which uses a visual symbol of the University that we’re all a part of and then also mix it with someone who has done outreach work with art and with community and symbols,” he said.

    UNM student Stevie Lowrey said she is able to see what she can do as an artist to contribute to larger social movements and is excited to start weaving different subject matters, including animals, into her artwork.

    “The concept of saving the wolf and saving beings that are higher up in our food chain put into perspective our being and what we can do to make things work,” she said.

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