In New Mexico, hunting is more than just a sport. It is a central part of our culture, a way to feed our families and ensure the future of our local outdoor recreation economy. Doña Ana County sportsmen and women have always appreciated the fact that they can drive a short distance from their homes and be able to pursue and harvest deer, javelina, quail, dove and waterfowl.
With the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in the backyard of New Mexico’s second largest city, Las Cruces, thousands of sportsmen now have the opportunity to use these lands as they have for generations and pass on our outdoor traditions to the next generation. These are lands where we learned how to hunt with our fathers and grandfathers, and now we are passing that legacy on to our sons, daughters and grandchildren.
Unfortunately, Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has asked the secretary of the Interior to recommend that the monument be reduced in size by 88 percent, in spite of overwhelming support from the community. The areas being targeted are within the Desert Peaks portion of the monument: West Potrillos, Sierra de Las Uvas, Robledos and Doña Ana Mountains. These areas offer the best hunting opportunities and are highly valued by sportsmen who wanted them included as part of the monument.
Secretary Ryan Zinke should hear us – the majority of the local community, including sportsmen and women who worked tirelessly for more than 10 years to achieve this designation – and recommend that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument remain unchanged in scope and scale. Sportsmen ask Secretary Zinke to support our national public lands, our national heritage, our kids’ inheritance and the backbone of our local economy – in short, our future.