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A “Wild” Celebration Planned Statewide for Public Lands Day

September 26, 2007

Roswell, NM – New Mexicans are heading into the great outdoors this week to help protect the state's natural treasures. Saturday is National Public Lands Day, a day to clean up and improve public lands, parks, and wilderness. Bill Murry with the BLM's Roswell Field Office is helping to organize a tree-planting event at Valley of Fires, site of one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.

"It gives people a chance to see what's there, to participate in projects and actually put things on the public lands that they have a part in."

More than 20 events and volunteer efforts are planned for public lands across the state. Conservationists say the day is also a chance to highlight legislation that's vital for wilderness protection. A number of current proposals aim to protect lands near Taos, Las Vegas, Las Cruces, and other areas.

Mike Matz is executive director of the Campaign for America's Wilderness; he hopes that people end this week with a renewed appreciation for their public lands.

"Hopefully, people also make a commitment to pass those same lands along to our kids -- and their kids."

He says one way to do that is by pushing for permanent protection of wilderness areas. He points to current efforts to protect the Sabinoso Wilderness on the plains east of Las Vegas and portions of the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces.

To learn more about National Public Lands Day, visit www.publiclandsday.org.

Eric Mack/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NM