Poll: residents are opposed to altering monument

SWS Report | July, 2017 | Articles, Features


Sierra de Las Uvas

This photo of sunset at the Sierra de Las Uvas by Lisa Mandelkern shows just one part of the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument.

A new poll released by the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and the mayors of Las Cruces, Mesilla, and Anthony shows that a strong majority of Doña Ana County residents are opposed to any changes to the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument. The poll of 400 Doña Ana County registered voters, conducted by the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce from May 13 through 17, show that 63 percent of residents oppose any reduction of the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument, compared to only 26 percent who support reducing protections. The poll also shows majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents feel positively towards the Monument.

Other findings of the poll are as follows:
• Residents in Doña Ana County have an overwhelmingly positive view of the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Doña Ana County residents have a positive view of the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument while only a small minority (15 percent) express a negative view. Support for the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument has increased five percentage points from last year.

• Doña Ana County residents believe the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument can help create new jobs and tourism in the County. Three-fifths (62 percent) believe that the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument can help create jobs and tourism in the County while 29 percent disagreed.

On April 26, President Trump signed an Executive Order calling for a 120-day review of approximately 27 National Monuments created since 1996, including the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument. Thus far, the review has resulted in U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke recommending that President Trump cut the boundaries of the culturally and scientifically significant Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. The U.S. Department of Interior is currently accepting public input until July 10 of all the monuments that are under review.

Since its establishment on May 21, 2014 the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument has received national publicity and a significant increase in visitation. In the last year alone, the monument had a 102 percent increase in visits, equating to more than 80,000 additional visitors.

The mayors of Las Cruces, Mesilla, and Anthony are urging residents to speak up for the protection of the monument by submitting their comments to the U.S. Department of Interior.

“The Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument designation was a historic achievement for our region. It protected our rich public lands and history, and has given Doña Ana County a huge boost in notoriety and tourism. It’s imperative that the monument stay fully protected, and that all residents make their voice heard with the Secretary of Interior and President,” said Mayors Ken Miyagishima of Las Cruces, Nora Barraza of Mesilla, and Diana Murillo-Trujillo of Anthony in a joint statement.

Carrie Hamblen, president and CEO of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce said, “This poll confirms that local citizens overwhelmingly support the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument and appreciate the value it creates in supporting local businesses and tourism. The monument has contributed to our local economy, helped create new products and services, and brought national and international attention to our city. Any reduction of it would only harm and undermine our economic future.”The mayors urged citizens to comment through organmountains.org, where
they may also view a video showcasing the monument.



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