NM sportsmen hoping newest national monument designation bodes well for Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

New Mexico sportsmen are optimistic that President Obama will do the same for New Mexico that he did today in California – use his authority to designate a new national monument.

At a White House ceremony today, the president made good on his State of the Union vow to protect more public land by designating Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument. The new monument includes 1,600 acres on the northern California coastline, including important habitat for salmon, migratory waterfowl and other species.

New Mexico sportsmen see the California designation as a good sign. “President Obama should be commended for moving forward to protect the Point Arena-Stornetta area, and we hope to see him in Las Cruces soon to announce similar protection for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region,” said John Cornell, president of Dona Ana County Associated Sportsmen. “This proposal has wide local support, but sportsmen in particular want this designation because the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks provides exceptional hunting opportunity just a stone’s throw from Las Cruces.”

Oscar Simpson, chairman of the New Mexico chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, agreed with Cornell. “Public lands help make any place special, whether it’s California, Colorado or New Mexico,” he said. “Protected lands like the new monument in California or the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks strengthen the economy and benefit the local community in many ways.”

Studies have shown that a national monument designation boosts visitor numbers and helps local businesses, even as it protects longtime traditional uses in the area. Hunting, camping, grazing and other traditional uses are included in the legislation to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

“Northern New Mexico is already enjoying economic benefits from the designation of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument last year,” said Toner Mitchell, the New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “The President used his authority then to protect a vast swath of northern New Mexico. Hopefully he’ll do the same soon for southern New Mexico.”

For more information contact:

John Cornell, President, Dona Ana County Associated Sportsmen, (575) 740-1759

Oscar Simpson, NM Chapter President, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, (505) 917-2134

Toner Mitchell, NM Public Lands Director, Trout Unlimited, (505) 231-8860

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