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August 20, 2013
For Immediate Release

Contact: Chris Cervini, 505-980-6110

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A new economic study by BBC Research & Consulting reveals that designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument on public lands in Doña Ana County will have a “significant positive effect” on the local economy.

The study, commissioned by the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and released today, estimates that protecting the national monument will generate $7.4 million in new economic activity annually and create 88 new jobs, doubling the number of jobs that these public lands support in outdoor recreation and tourism. The study also estimates an additional $562,000 per year generated in combined state and local government tax revenue from designation of the national monument.

The full economic report can be viewed at www.OMDPjobs.com and on the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce at www.nmgreenchamber.com/OMDPjobs.

“This study shows, unequivocally, that protecting our public lands supports local economic growth,” said Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. “The amount of revenue that will be generated as a result of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks gaining national monument protection will help businesses in Las Cruces and the surrounding areas grow in ways that wouldn’t be possible without monument designation.”

Laura E. Sanchez, CEO of the statewide New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

“The prospect of doubling the number of jobs supported by outdoor recreation and tourism in Doña Ana County is promising,” Sanchez said. “Jobs are hard to come by these days, and any initiative that creates new jobs while protecting our shared heritage is an initiative that all New Mexicans can support.”

Economists and businesses owners agree that protecting public lands could give Doña Ana County a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting new businesses, a possibility that local CEOs like homebuilder Wayne Suggs find exciting.

“Establishing a national monument will send a strong message about the kind of community we are, and the incredible natural resources that can be found here” said Suggs, co-owner of Classic New Mexico Homes. “Communities with protected public lands not only attract more visitors, they also attract new investment and new residents who value the quality of life in places where they can easily enjoy nature and outdoor recreation. Homebuilders and contractors benefit from this kind of preservation.”

The economic benefits of designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would go beyond those accruing from visitor spending.

“The proposed Monument lands provide another community amenity that, when considered with other nearby recreational amenities, provide a compelling case to lure tourists, sportsmen, retirees, businesses and workers to the community,” said economist Adam Orens, the author of the report and Director at BBC Research & Consulting. “Designation will also preserve and protect the historical, cultural and agricultural uses on the proposed Monument for future generations.”

“With the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks permanently protected, we will be better equipped to promote Las Cruces as a city where businesses and individuals can prosper,” said Philip San Filippo, Director of the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Just as important, this action will help establish our reputation as a community that’s involved in protecting its unique heritage.”

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region serves as an important crossroads of New Mexican and American history. Protected here are sites including the Apollo Mission training areas, Native American petroglyphs and several sites of Hispanic cultural significance.

“There are sites located inside the proposed national monument that are sacred to New Mexico’s history,” said Nora Barazza, Mayor of Mesilla. “Whether we are discussing the historic Butterfield Stage Trail, the Gadsden Purchase former international boundary, or the Camino Real Trail, this region is a symbolic and important crossroads for the entire continent.”

The economic report will be discussed in detail with small business owners, the press and public at this week’s “Land and Culture: Economic Opportunities from Conservation” forum on August 23 at the Mesilla Community Center, 2251 Calle de Santiago in Mesilla. For more information about the forum, please visit www.nmgreenchamber.com/OMDP