Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks: A True Community Effort

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM California
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM California

The newly designated Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument is a wonderful addition to our federally protected land in New Mexico.  Many conservation groups, environmental groups, sportsmen’s groups, and individuals were responsible for making this decade-old dream a reality, and HECHO is certainly excited and proud to have been involved this “monumental” occasion.

There is much to be said about communities and unlikely allies coming together for a common purpose.  When this happens, the power of this collaboration can literally move mountains.  As in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, everyone should benefit from the designation.  The rancher who grazes his cattle on federal land and the hiker who ventures out to seek solace and nature, the bird watcher who goes out to witness New Mexico’s amazing migrating flocks and the hunter who uses these lands to feed his or her family and pass on core cultural values to the next generation.

National monuments have proven to have positive economic impacts on local economies.  They draw people from all around the world to experience the rich historic, cultural, and geographic attributes of these jewels of the American West.  As time goes on and our open spaces succumb to urban sprawl and energy development, places like Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument will become more important and serve as our saving grace in an overdeveloped world.

Generations of Latinos before us played a part in shaping this area, now our story can be shared with the generations to come about our rich history and involvement in the area.  From the Spanish Camino Real to areas along the Rio Grande where New Mexico green chile has been grown for hundreds of years, the Latino contribution in this region is an important contribution to the fabric of the United States. Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument will help depict just how significant this contribution really is.

HECHO thanks President Obama, New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall,  Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham for their foresight and advocacy in preserving this amazing place and securing its public use for generations to come.

It is great to know that this iconic landscape will get its well-deserved designation as the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.  Protecting important places is vital to the future of this country, and local communities coming together for the common good of all United States Citizens is a fine example of how democracy should work.