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