Hundreds celebrate Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument
Hundreds of people came out to celebrate the Organ Mountains at Onate High School in Las Cruces. President Barack Obama officially declared the mountains the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument on Wednesday.
The significance was not lost on anyone at the celebration.
Adrian avila: “Today was a really good day to see all the work that everyone had done come together finally,” said Adrian Avila.
Avila is part of a group that tried to prove the importance of the mountains by looking for arrow heads, hieroglyphics, or any signs of humans in the past living in the area. One step to getting the Organ’s recognized.
“It was basically an effort to show these mountains are worth becoming a national monument, because of the rich history. Not to mention the beauty of the landscape,” Avila said.
Lifelong Las Cruces resident David Soules practically grew up hiking the mountains. Something he has continued to do his entire life.
“They are pretty tough,” Soules said. “You can look at them. Getting up into those takes someone who is accustomed to challenging walking.”
Even though he has had a life time to explore the mountains, he said now that it is a national monument, people from all over the world can discover the mountains he loves so much.
“Other parts of the monument you can actually drive right up the petroglyphs and see them and I don’t think people are aware of that. I think it will bring that awareness,” he said.
The crowed wasn’t alone today. They were joined by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. They also know firsthand the battle it took to get the Organs recognized.
“It shouldn’t be easy,” Secretary Jewell explained. “National monuments should be very special. It should reflect something very special. They are not just an opportunity to pick everybody’s favorite place and say that should be a national favorite place. “
Now that the Organs are officially a national monument, everything that calls the Organs home will now have special protections and be ready for use and enjoyment for years to come.
“There is no better way to do that than a national monument,” said Soules.
The designation of the mountains creates the largest national monument in Obama’s presidency so far.