With your help this year, we have made some exciting progress on our campaigns. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to another great year ahead. Here is a summary of some of our most important accomplishments in 2013—feats that never could have been possible without your continued support.
Rio Grande del Norte Newest National Monument
After seven years of hard work, the 242,500 acre Rio Grande del Norte now has permanent protection as a national monument. It took building alliances with various groups including sportsmen, traditional communities, businesses and politicians to make this happen.
Continued Fight for Mexican Gray Wolves
In a rare move, we sued the Department of Justice for failing to prosecute those who illegally kill wolves. We also helped rally more than 500 people to the recent wolf hearing in Albuquerque to let the Fish and Wildlife Service know that we need to expand the range of our lobos. With your help, we sent more than 1,000 online messages to the Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year telling them to release more lobos.
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks named among the top two campaigns in the country
On the precipice of permanent protection, the community-supported Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and wilderness proposal enjoys exciting momentum. This year, with your support, NM Wild has wielded diverse supporters and creative partnerships and our national monument proposal enjoys more than 80 percent support in the community.
Oversight of oil and gas extraction
This year, we continued our oversight of oil and gas extraction, with particular emphasis on Otero Mesa and Chaco Canyon. We are monitoring federal lease sales in those areas, commenting on associated environmental assessments and filing formal protests for parcels we believe should not be leased at all. This year we have taken the additional step of appealing one Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision to the Washington, D.C.-based Interior Board of Land Appeals. This decision involved the leasing of land in Otero County without a valid management plan to support leasing.
Wilderness conservation is about the long haul.Just think—the Grand Canyon was carved over tens of millions of years. With your continued support, you can count on the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance to continue the fight for wilderness in the Land of Enchantment. Thank you for being part of this journey with us.
Other notable accomplishments this year:
Columbine Hondo Wilderness legislation was introduced in April and was heard at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing in November.
Rio Grande del Norte Wilderness legislation for Ute Mountain and San Antonio WSA passed Senate Committee earlier this year.
Began organizing the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act Celebration in Albuquerque, where the National Wilderness Conference and Wilderness50 Get Wild Festival will be held in October 2014. NM Wild is a co-sponsor of the event.
Engaged 741 volunteers (including 312 youth) for more than 5,000 volunteer hours. Together, we restored trails, pulled invasive weeds, did wilderness outreach and inventoried thousands of acres of public lands.
Joined by new Executive Director Mark Allison, who brings 20 years of non-profit leadership experience to NM Wild. Also brought two other new staff members on board: Administrative Assistant Emma Tomingas-Hatch and Gila Grassroots Organizer (and former associate director) Nathan Newcomer.
We’re partnering with U.S. Forest Service and the Silver City Museum on an exhibition highlighting the 90th anniversary of the Gila Wilderness and 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The exhibition will run from May-October.
Wild Guide named a finalist in the Guidebook and Travel category at the Southwest Book Design and Production Awards.
This year, NM Wild staff and 35 volunteers logged 419 hours hiking Sandia Mountain Wilderness trails and arroyos, identifying and removing the invasive plant, cheatgrass.
On Otero Mesa, staff and volunteers followed the newly released BLM Manual 6310, Conducting Wilderness Characteristics Inventory on BLM Lands to identify and survey 29 potential units totaling 328,545 acres.
In Dona Ana and Sierra Counties, 14 potential BLM “Lands with Wilderness Characteristics” totaling 140,525 acres were surveyed.