Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks

"The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region offers outstanding cultural resources, tourism and recreational opportunities like hunting, hiking, and camping, and links us strongly to our past. For years, diverse coalitions in New Mexico have worked tirelessly for its permanent protection. By designating this natural treasure a national monument, a critical piece of our shared outdoor heritage will be protected for us now and for future generations of Americans to enjoy."
–U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

The Organ, Doña Ana, Sierra de las Uvas, Robledo, and Potrillo Mountains are among the many scenic landscapes in Doña Ana County that define Southern New Mexico and the rich culture of its people. 

Now that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (OMDP) National Monument has been established, Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are working to complete the community's vision for protection. They have introduced the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act, a bill to designate wilderness within the national monument that will preserve New Mexico’s outdoor heritage by ensuring that these public lands will remain open to hunting, outdoor recreation and grazing. The bill will provide gold-standard protection for the wildest places within the national monument – including the Organ, Potrillo, Uvas and Robledo mountains, in addition to Aden Lava Flow and Broad Canyon. President Obama based the 2014 national monument designation on legislation introduced by Udall and Heinrich, but only Congress has authority to create wilderness. 

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has increased tourism and boosted the economy in Doña Ana County, and the wilderness designation will help promote the monument as a world-class destination. The Lonely Planet guidebook, which has a strong international following, has named Southern New Mexico as a top-10 “Best in the United States for 2016” destination, and highlights the national monument as a reason to visit. The Town of Mesilla’s tax revenues have jumped over 20 percent since the monument's creation and Las Cruces’ Lodgers tax revenues are up since 2015 in part because of new conferences and meetings attracted to the area by the monument. New businesses also have opened to offer outdoor recreation opportunities within the monument and surrounding community.

This updated legislation, previously introduced in 2013, reflects feedback from many individuals and groups, including grazing permittees and private landowners within the proposed areas; electric, natural gas, and pipeline utilities; local governments and community leaders; local law enforcement agencies; sportsmen, heritage, veteran, conservation, and archaeological organizations; flood control and irrigation authorities; airport authorities; the New Mexico State Land Office; and federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Army.

By removing the current wilderness study area designation in 30,000 acres of the monument along the U.S.-Mexico border, the bill will help strengthen border security. 

Background on the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act: 

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act Benefits New Mexico

  • Showcases to residents and those around the world not only a highly diverse set of resources and opportunities, but also the rich culture and identity of our state.
  • Preserves iconic view sheds as well as outstanding historic, cultural, and natural resources.
  • Maintains and preserves traditional use on the landscape by directing the Bureau of Land Management to continue livestock grazing, hunting, and recreation.
  • Preserves access for Border Patrol and local law enforcement to conduct operations.
  • Protects the missions of White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss into the future.
  • Through increased tourism generates an estimated $7.4 million in annual new economic activity, new jobs, and other economic benefits. 

Community Voices for Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

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