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Thank You Wilderness Rangers

Thank You 2017 WILDERNESS RANGERS

RhettSpencer JoshParken Latirs June2017 web150 Josh Latirs web150 Jade Sandias web150 Hailey Sandias web150 Luciano Headshot web150 Zack Headshot web 150
Rhett Spencer
Carson National Forest
Josh Parken
Carson National Forest
Jade McLaughlin
Cibola National Forest
Hailey Henck
Cibola National Forest
Luciano Naranjo
Santa Fe National Forest

Zack Bumgarner
Santa Fe National Forest

Thank you to our Wilderness Rangers who have successfully completed their first season with the program. These rangers worked across nine wilderness areas on the Cibola, Santa Fe and Carson National Forest through a public-private partnership between the Forest Service and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The rangers worked to monitor invasive species, trail conditions, opportunities for solitude, user created trails, as well as camp site inventories.

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Tabling at TMO

 

New Mexicans condemn Secretary Zinke’s assault of our nation’s National Monuments

New Mexicans condemn Secretary Zinke’s assault of

our nation’s National Monuments
Local communities urge President Trump to not upset broad protections

that are benefiting diverse access and economic activity

Las Cruces and Taos, New Mexico – New Mexicans of all walks of life, including local elected officials, veterans, sportsmen, small business owners, Hispanics, and tribal leaders, are expressing outrage at Secretary Zinke’s recommendation that the federal government remove protections for some national monuments. This recommendation comes from the review Zinke conducted this summer as a follow-up to an Executive Order issued by President Trump this past April.

Zinke visited Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico in July and culminated his review today by announcing several national monuments on public lands in the West will be reduced in size.  No specific details were provided by the Department of Interior. 

New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (OMDP) and Rio Grande del Norte (RGDN) national monuments are still in the crosshairs despite the Department of Interior receiving overwhelming support for them and other monuments during Interior’s public comment period. Of the over 2.8 million comments submitted to Interior,99 percent of all comments expressed support for maintaining/expanding national monuments. 93 and 98 percent the comments that mentioned OMDP and RGDN, respectively, requested that those monuments not be altered.

Community members had the following to say in response to Secretary Zinke’s announcement and comments today.

After decades of community advocacy for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and fourteen local government resolutions of support, we are shocked that the Trump Administration is considering harming our National Monument. The City of Las Cruces and its citizens have benefited greatly from the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and we stand ready to defend it from unprecedented attacks,” said Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima.

"The Doña Ana County Commission has passed four resolutions supporting Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks because protecting this land protects our culture, boosts our economy, and protects antiquities valuable to the entire country,” said Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett. “Weakening our National Monument protections weakens our community, so we will continue to defend Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.”

"Hunters and anglers fought for Rio Grande del Norte because it protects the wildlife habitat and waters that our way of life and livelihoods depend on. The same goes for sportsmen who worked to get other national monuments established. Any rollback to our National Monuments hurts all sportsmen and threatens our hunting and fishing traditions, whether that’s locally or nationally,” said John Olivas, owner of JACO Outfitters, based in Holman, New Mexico. “The Rio Grande del Norte monument designation has benefitted many local businesses, including mine.  Any changes to our monuments would threaten our livelihoods and is unacceptable.”

“This is the land where our ancestors walked. For the many that have moved on to the next world, may we be their voice to protect the land that was once theirs,” said Rafael Gomez, Jr., Tribal Council member for the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. “Resizing Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument would be a direct affront to Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Native American culture and heritage.”

“The designation of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has put a star on the map, and Las Cruces is now a destination,” said Russell Hernandez, co-owner of restaurant Salud! de Mesilla. “Weakening our national monument will hurt businesses and tourism that depend on protected public lands. I’m very concerned that businesses in our region may suffer because of Secretary Zinke’s decision.”

“Changing any National Monument will harm local businesses and jobs. Rio Grande del Norte National Monument has benefitted Taos County tremendously. It attracts over 200,000 people annually, a 45 percent increase since before the monument was designated,” said Jamie Tedesco, owner of ZAP Marketing in Taos. “We hope the Trump administration will leave our monuments intact and instead work to support our economy.”

“Like Secretary Zinke, I am a veteran, and I depend on the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks for my well-being. Many other southern New Mexico veterans do as well,” said Las Cruces resident Andrea Sandoval, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq in 2003-2004. “And like Secretary Zinke, I fought to protect all that makes America what she is, and that includes our shared natural treasures. I am urging President Trump to listen to the people of Doña Ana County, and leave Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks the way it is today.”

The Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments have proven to be economic boons to both northern and southern New Mexico. After RGDN was designated in 2013, Taos County quickly experienced an increase in visitation and local tax revenues, benefits that continue to be felt today. Visitation to OMDP increased by 102 percent from 2015 to 2016, and Las Cruces was recently included in Lonely Planet’s “Top 10 Places to Visit.” And next month, Doña Ana County is holding its 2nd annual Monuments to Main Street” month-long festival where residents and visitors can explore Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks among other cultural treasures.

The OMDP and RGDN monument proclamations specifically recognize that grazing permits and leases shall continue. Many ranchers applauded the designation of both monuments, specifically because they knew they would be able to continue grazing, continue their way of life, and not have to worry about the public lands they use being opened up to drilling or mining or sold off to the highest bidder.  A recent Congressional Review Service memo looking at grazing in OMDP found that “there have been no changes to livestock grazing on the ground as a result of the establishment of the [OMDP] monument.”

Despite all of the longstanding public support, Congressman Steve Pearce remains the lone member of New Mexico’s congressional delegation opposed to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. Rep. Pearce has repeatedly made misstatements about the national monument and is the out of step with the surrounding communities.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte national monument supporters from across New Mexico urge President Trump to look at the facts and leave our national monuments intact.

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Monument recommendations would put important cultural and ecological resources at risk, and harm local economies

New Mexico Wild Calls on President Trump to Stand with Voters Above Special Interests for New Mexico’s National Monuments

Monument recommendations would put important cultural and ecological resources at risk, and harm local economies

Albuquerque, NM—Yesterday, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendations to President Donald Trump concerning 27 National Monuments were leaked to the press. These were made pursuant to Trump’s April 2017 Executive Order which directed Zinke to review all National Monuments greater than 100,000 acres designated since 1996, and to make recommendations about whether to abolish or shrink them.

While this national monument review never should have been ordered, the fact that Department of Interior Secretary Zinke is not recommending boundary reductions for either Rio Grande del Norte or Organ Mountains Desert Peaks must be seen as a direct result of the overwhelming community support the administration heard from New Mexicans. 

Both monuments were created after a decades long public process and overwhelming community support by broad coalitions of diverse stakeholders.  They enjoy support from all local governments in their respective areas, the All Pueblo Council of Governors, businesses, sportsman’s organizations, faith leaders, veterans and recreational users. 

Zinke recommends opening the monuments to drilling, mining and logging – even going so far as to disingenuously claim they are “traditional uses” comparable to hunting and fishing or Native American sacred ceremonial sites.  These heavy commercial industrial activities would decimate the very cultural, historic and natural resource values that the monument designations intend to protect.

Zinke’s report based recommendations in part on claims that roads have been closed due to the Rio Grande del Norte designation and that grazing permittees have chosen not to renew their permits due to the monument.  These are patently false assertions as the Bureau of Land Management has confirmed.       

New Mexico Wild now calls on President Trump to side with the people and reject Secretary Zinke’s national monument recommendations.  “Now that his review has concluded that over 95% of the public opposes any changes or harm to these natural wonders, President Trump can choose to side with voters rather than the radical proposals of Congressman Steve Pearce, DC lobbyists, and special interests,” said Executive Director Mark Allison.

Any Presidential action that removes protections for the numerous historic, cultural, and ecological objects and resources will be met with immediate legal action by New Mexico Wild.

“The Antiquities Act has been an important conservation tool used by Presidents of both parties for over one hundred years.  New Mexico Wild is prepared to take legal action so that our monuments and the integrity of the Antiquities Act will endure beyond the cynical and short-sighted attacks of this administration.”

ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), grassroots, statewide, conservation organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. Founded 20 years ago, the organization is aligned with our nation’s landmark Wilderness Act of 1964 and is dedicated to the rights and the value of citizen involvement in protecting increasingly rare wild places within public lands. Just as freedom is every American’s birthright so too is Wilderness. We know they are inseparable. We hold this truth dearly as we preserve Wilderness from generation to generation for us, for all species and for its own sake.

New Mexico Wild Celebrates Expanded Access to Sabinoso Wilderness Area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2017

New Mexico Wild Celebrates Expanded Access to Sabinoso Wilderness Area

The Department of Interior announced today its intention to add approximately 4,000 acres to the 16,030-acre Sabinoso Wilderness east of Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Created in 2009, Sabinoso has been surrounded by private property, making it the only “landlocked” wilderness area in the country.  Today’s announcement not only marks the first expansion of a wilderness area in the country by the Trump administration but also the culmination of a nearly decade-long effort to provide access to the public.

Today’s announcement was made possible by the Wilderness Land Trust which purchased the Rimrock Rose Ranch for the purpose of donating it to the public to own in perpetuity.  The area will be managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The Sabinoso Wilderness is a rugged backcountry area that is characterized by its remoteness, red rock canyons, archaeological sites and solitude.  It is home to elk, mule deer, mountain lions, and wild turkey.  The headwaters of the Canadian River run through Cañon Largo. Cañon Largo was a well-traveled route used by native people for centuries and by cavalry traveling from Fort Union to Fort Bascom in the 19th century.

Interest from residents of San Miguel County and throughout New Mexico has been high and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (New Mexico Wild) is gratified that the public will finally have the opportunity to visit this beautiful area to hike, backpack, photograph, hunt and ride horses.

New Mexico Wild organized dozens of volunteers who donated nearly 1,000 hours to make the former ranch ready for transfer to the National Wilderness Preservation System by removing fencing, corrals and other structures. 

 “This is a dream come true for many New Mexicans who worked for years to permanently protect this wild and spectacular place and to secure access for the public.  I’m proud that senators Udall and Heinrich pressed Secretary Zinke to visit this area personally so he could see for himself how special it is.  I’m hopeful that the Secretary will now make the right decision to keep the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains Desert Peaks national monuments intact as well,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild.

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ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. Founded nearly 30 years ago, the organization is aligned with our nation’s landmark Wilderness Act of 1964 and is dedicated to the rights and the value of citizen involvement in protecting increasingly rare wild places within public lands. Just as freedom is every American’s birthright so too is Wilderness. We know they are inseparable. We hold this truth dearly as we preserve Wilderness from generation to generation for us, for all species and for its own sake.

 

 

Contact: Mark Allison, Executive Director, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, 505-239-0906

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