This is dated but it is good stuff….
As we reflect on the one year anniversary of the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument – an effort supported by sportsmen, community leaders, faith groups, veteran organizations, businesses and many others – our community is fortunate to now have one of the largest national monuments in the country right at our back door.
Since the designation on May 21, 2014, sportsmen have continued to hunt, camp, hike and recreate in the monument just as before the designation.
As a thank you for everyone who supported our monument, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and our valuable partners in Las Cruces – some of whom have been advocating to protect these areas for 20 years – sportsmen hosted a public celebration May 16th at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Volunteers fed an estimated crowd of 425 with delicious New Mexico game meat, from elk fajitas to oryx tacos along with deer, ibex, wild turkey and Barbary sheep. Our supporters from High Desert Brewery provided beer and the fabulous local band Gold Hearted Crows kept us entertained all night.
The monument never would have happened without the efforts of hundreds, and we can’t name them all, but special recognition goes to President Obama, Senator Tom Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich. We were honored to have Sen. Heinrich as our special guest, who said he was very pleased to see how the whole community was embracing the new monument.
There are many reasons why protected public lands are important to sportsmen and local communities. Obviously, protection from development and managed encroachment from humans is critical to wildlife habitat, which leads to more and improved hunting opportunities and ensures that future generations will have the same opportunities that we now cherish.
Protected public lands make sense economically, also. New Mexico sportsmen hunt and fish primarily on public lands. Hunting and angling in New Mexico are a $613 million industry, contributing to almost 8,000 jobs, $55 million in federal taxes and $51 million in state taxes, according to a recent study commissioned by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.
The same study also broke it down by counties. Dona Ana County hunters and anglers contribute greatly to the state figures – supporting nearly $41 million in economic activity in 2013.
Dona Ana County sportsmen and women spend a lot of money hunting and fishing all over and sportsmen from all over spend a lot of money in Dona Ana County. Because of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the money spent locally should grow.
Protected public lands are our history and heritage, and say a lot about where we are heading in our future. After just one year, we are already experiencing the value of having a national monument in our back yard. In 100 years, future generations will look back at our efforts and thank us kindly for our efforts and foresight.
President, Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
100 Juh Trail, Hillsboro, NM 88042