Unified Action – November 2010 – Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act

Sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman and Senator Tom Udall
For more information send email to Nathan Small or call him at 575-527-9962.

Ask Congress to Approve Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act (S.1689) before the Lame Duck Session Ends

When you have completed this action, please send an “I did it” to unifiedaction@pva-nm.org. The deadline is November 30.

What We Are Asking

Email AND/OR call our Congressional Delegation. Urge them to pass the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act before Congress adjourns. Now is the best time to pass this legislation. We can’t let this chance pass us by.

Say something like,

“I urge you to pass the Organ Mountains Wilderness Act. It will save natural lands before they are lost forever and includes many features that enhance border security, encourage economic opportunity, and respect traditional land use activities.”

Be personal! Introduce yourself and explain your connection to and appreciation for natural treasures like the Organ Mountains.

Senator Jeff Bingaman
Las Cruces: 575-523-9160
Washington: 202-224-5521
Email: mailto:dara_parker@bingaman.senate.gov
Senator Tom Udall
Las Cruces: 575-526-5475
Washington: 202-224-6621
Email: mailto:xochitl_torres@tomudall.senate.gov
Representative Harry Teague
Las Cruces: 575-522-3908
Washington: 202-225-2365
Email: mailto:andrea.flores@mail.house.gov

The Issue

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act will protect Doña Ana County’s rich natural heritage. Passage of the act would mean permanent protection for the county’s natural crown jewels–from the Organ Mountains, east to Broad Canyon and the Robledos/Sierra de Las Uvas, and then south to the Potrillo Mountains complex.

Tremendous growth rates, recent annexations, and increasing off-road vehicle use are encroaching on special public lands. We have the chance to leave our community a lasting legacy of wilderness.

Over 200 businesses, 30 organizations, and 4 local elected governments support the Desert Peaks Act. Everyone from sportsmen to business leaders are on board. However, dedicated opposition, spreading misinformation, continues working against wilderness protections in Doña Ana County. Basing decisions on facts and not fear, it is clear that wilderness protection for certain areas in Doña Ana County is critical.

Key Reasons to Protect Wilderness

Protect Special Places like the Organ Mountains and Broad Canyon with a Proven Designation—Wilderness
Wilderness exists in 46 states. There are 30 Wilderness Areas in New Mexico. Only Wilderness and National Conservation Areas designations will place these lands in the BLM National Landscape Conservation System, bringing them more money, recognition, and prestige.

Wilderness will Increase Tourism and Be Good for Local Economic Development
Communities with protected public lands have higher income levels, as documented by the Sonoran Institute. Simple “withdrawal” would remove the national prestige and tourism benefit resulting from a Wilderness designation.

Wilderness will Protect Open Space
Our community is growing at a historic rate. Protection of our important places now ensures we protect our quality of life forever.

Wilderness Is Multiple Use
You can do it all in Wilderness–ranching, camping, horseback riding, hunting, hiking, bird watching, and more!

Wilderness and Border Security
First, the legislation is supported by current Border Patrol officials. Alan Bersins, current Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, has praised the bill. Ron Colburn, a recently retired national deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, has also expressed his support and discussed how current Border Patrol officers have told them that they appreciate the legislation.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Wilderness Act achieves the right balance of practical border enforcement, protecting our citizens while also protecting wilderness areas in a strict way. The bill creates a 6-mile security zone with full access for Border Patrol vehicles and infrastructure in a controlled access zone, allows east-west highway patrol, assures pursuit by law enforcement vehicles into wilderness areas, allows patrols by air over wilderness areas and in general provides for a safe border for generations to come.

More Information

DonaAnaWild.org. covers all aspects of the wilderness bill in detail. It includes maps of the area under consideration, discussion of all the issues, and ways to get involved.

A statement from Senator Bingaman’s office summarizes the broad support for the bill and its long history beginning in the Reagan administration.

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