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Jewell in Las Cruces for Meeting on Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

PHOTO:  Photo courtesy of New Mexico State Police.
PHOTO: Photo courtesy of New Mexico State Police.
January 24, 2014

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The public is welcome to attend a meeting in Las Cruces today where U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and others will talk about Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and the effort to make it a national monument.

Jewell, along with U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, both of New Mexico, will host the community meeting scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at the Ramada Palms Las Cruces.

Justin Medina, who provides hunting services through New Mexico Arrowhead Outfitters, says additional federal protections will ensure that the next generation enjoys the Organ Mountains.

"Hunting for not only small businesses like me or future young people that are starting to learn hunting and stuff, it would be a good way of preserving that kind of country up there for years to come," he stresses.

Udall and Heinrich introduced legislation late last year that would create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

Medina says a national monument designation would help preserve the region's rich history, which includes Native American cultural ruins.

He says it also would help protect and grow the economic gain that tourism brings to the region.

"I think it does, and I think it would in the future as well, as a lot of these hunters come down and they're booking lodging, spending gas to get down here, so not only to Cruces but the state," he says.

The new monument would be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and would include eight new wilderness areas.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM