Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks supporters deliver 15,000 petitions

Organ Mountains petition signers Dustin Chavez-Davis

By Dustin Chavez-Davis
Our Wild America
The campaign to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico is gaining momentum following a visit to the area in late January from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and delivery of 15,000 petition signatures asking President Obama to designate the monument.
Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, along with administration officials, hosted a listening session to hear from locals and participate in a hike to the Broad Canyon area to highlight some of the unique recreational and cultural resources on our public land in Doña Ana County.
Supporters of the proposal to designate this area a national monument turned out en masse for the public listening session held in Las Cruces. The room was filled beyond capacity, and a high level of community interest and engagement on the topic was evident by the large number of people who turned out to voice their opinions on the current use of the land and share their views on increased protection. This overwhelming turnout was largely in favor of the monument proposal and many Sierra Club members took action to speak out in support of the designation.
Advocates view the visit by a top administration official as a positive sign that the president is considering taking executive action to protect this special place should the proposed conservation legislation fail to pass in Congress.
On March 12, supporters of the monument held a press conference to announce the delivery of 15,000 signatures asking President Obama to designate Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks a national monument. The event was supported by many of our Action Team members, who collected additional petitions and celebrating the milestone of 15,000 diverse voices in support of the monument.
The event received positive coverage on TV and print media with focus on the economic benefits for local businesses and recreational opportunities for visitors and locals.
The protection of this public land would bring immense benefits for the wildlife that call this area home and would preserve access to this desert landscape for the benefit of future generations.
As Secretary Jewell recently noted, “some places are too special to develop” and many business owners, sportsmen, local elected officials, tribal leaders, conservationists, and others clearly agree. New Mexicans from all walks of life are proud to call this region home and see the value of protecting the landscape and resources from reckless development.
The local Action Team has been bringing attention to the issue and encouraging grassroots action. Please contact me if you are interested in getting involved in this campaign or attending an outing to visit and explore this special place.
dustin.chavez-davis@sierraclub.org