Obama Designates Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
As part of his commitment to make 2014 a year of action using his pen and phone, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation May 21 to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in south-central New Mexico, an action that, according to independent analysis, could generate $7.4 million in new economic activity each year.
Using his authorities under the Antiquities Act, the President’s action will permanently preserve approximately 496,000 acres to ensure that the prehistoric, historic, and scientific values of this area remain for the benefit of all Americans while preserving access for sportsmen, ranchers, and recreational users. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument joins the 10 other national monuments President Obama has designated across the country to permanently protect sites that are significant to our nation’s rich history and natural heritage.
“Whether they’re hiking or camping or fishing, visitors to our parks and public lands are not only enjoying the bounty of our natural resources, but also promoting jobs and growth. And continuing to set aside federal land for outdoor recreation will drive critical revenue for those local communities, and preserve our pristine land for generations to come,” said President Obama.
“Today is the culmination of a community-led effort to preserve, protect and promote these public lands, but it’s the beginning of a new chapter for the businesses that will benefit from the tourism and recreation, and the wildlife that rely on this unique habitat,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “The Organ Mountains and surrounding Desert Peaks are steeped in culture, history, wildlife and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors—from hunting to hiking to gazing at ancient petroglyphs and fossils—and the President’s action ensures that these cherished landscapes are celebrated and passed on to the generations of New Mexicans and Americans to come.”
The President’s proclamation honors years of work by the local community and businesses seeking increased protection and recognition for the area. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall have championed legislation to protect and preserve the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region. Conservation groups and sportsmen’s organizations, local tribal governments, veterans and ranchers, faith leaders and Latino leaders, historic preservationists, the nearby cities of Las Cruces and El Paso, and over 200 local businesses have also expressed support for permanent protection.
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