Frontera Land Alliance, El Paso, TX
By Janae’ Reneaud Field, Executive Director
Please visit http://castnerrangenationalmonument.org/ or www.fronteralandalliance.org to support Castner Range and Frontera Land Alliance.
El Paso these days is buzzing with a community-based effort to make Castner Range a National Monument. The Frontera Land Alliance, the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition and The El Paso Community Foundation are leading this effort. El Pasoans are asking President Obama to use his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect Castner Range as a national monument by transferring ownership from the Department of Defense to the Department of the Interior.
Creating a National Monument would honor Castner’s cultural, historical, scientific and environmental connections to the region and, most importantly, preserve and protect the land from urban sprawl forever. This monument designation isn’t just about preserving a piece of land in the U.S.’s 19th largest city or Mexico’s 5th largest town; it is about recognizing the world’s largest binational community’s storied past. Instead of talking about building walls, it’s about tearing them down to protect those who surround them.
Business owners, community leaders, teachers, students, elected officials, mayors from two different countries, neighbors, friends and list goes on and on. We all stand united in support of the designation of Castner Range National Monument. The local community has surpassed the 25,000- letter milestone with the drive of our committed El Paso families and friends. Film festivals, ball games, faith-based meetings, conservation gatherings, Zoo events, neighborhood association get-togethers, archaeology youth engagement and education , veterans’ events and hikes have made up the almost endless line up of events that have been held to educate and rally support for the proper protection of our precious landscape. Since early 2016, El Paso, Ysleta,
and Canutillo school districts have supported the National Monument Initiative in creative and artistic educational ways, teaching our youth about the importance of protecting big wide open spaces while engaging them in their cities local political landscape.
Also, given that Castner Range is home to one of the largest bilingual areas in the U.S., local supporters have established Spanish- and English-language websites, brochures, Facebook,Twitter pages and have produced several videos to better showcase the community’s dedication to our future Castner Range National Monument.
Castner Range is home to rich wildlife, three distinct ecosystems, a wide array of vegetation along with significant water resources in an area that abuts the world’s largest binational community. We have an opportunity to show our appreciation for the natural beauty in this region by supporting a current campaign asking the Department of Interior to declare Castner Range a national monument. If this bid is successful, we will have the support of the federal government to preserve this area into the future, and areas of the region could be accessible to the public for outdoor activities.
Editor’s Note: Friends of Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks are fortunate to be part of a network of grassroots organizations across the country. Friends of Friends is a series of blog posts from partner organizations that inspire and motivate our work. Together we are protecting, restoring and expanding our nation’s most iconic public lands. We also work with partners here in New Mexico to overcome obstacles we face as a state and a community. Our collective efforts help preserve our history and culture, protect vital wildlife and ecology, educate and engage families and build strong vibrant communities, improving the quality of life for residents and visitors. Our work is challenging and we face many obstacles. Yet we move forward knowing that our contributions shape the world around us and define it for future generations.
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