I was born and raised right here in New Mexico, it’s a beautiful state with so many hidden wonders and amazing national monuments worth visiting. The public land and national monuments in my opinion are New Mexico’s more prized possession. All our national parks and monuments in the United States hold so much natural heritage and beauty. We are without a doubt lucky to have each and every one of them. I’ve been to tons of national parks and monuments throughout the United States, while they are all amazing in their own way, New Mexico’s national monuments hold a special place in my heart because it’s my home state. I without a doubt have a few favorites, such as:
White Sands National Monument
I remember visiting the White Sands National Monument as a child and my brother and I now take our children. It’s become sort of a tradition and the white sand is breathtaking, if you’ve ever been it’s definitely a place you will never forget.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Nomadic people used theses caves of the Gila River as a temporary shelter and in the 1200s people of the Mogollon Culture called this place home. They built rooms, raised children and even crafted pottery in the cliff dwellings. They were said to have done this for about twenty years before moving on.
Organs Mountains Photo credit: Patrick J Alexander
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
If you’ve ever taken a drive to Las Cruces New Mexico you’ve likely seen the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. They are truly breathtaking, I’ve never seen anything like it and I can’t imagine the land not being protected. The Organ Mountain-Desert Parks National Monument was included in the executive order President Trump signed in April 2017 which aimed to shrink Bears Ears National Monument + Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Plus, there are other awesome national monuments in New Mexico such as:
- Petroglyph National Monument
- Prehistoric Trackways National Monument
- Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
- Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
- Aztec Ruins National Monument
- Bandelier National Monument
- Capulin Volcano National Monument
- El Malpais National Monument
- El Morro National Monument
- Kash-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Can you imagine without your National Monuments as you know them? What would you do if you heard they were on some sort of “rollback list”?
Help Stop Our National Monuments From Being Taken Away, Stolen, and Destroyed
What do I mean by the “rollback list?” Well, if you didn’t already know two national monuments in Utah have recently shrunk by about 2 million acres. Yes, the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments went from 3.25 million acres of protected land to only 1.23 acres of protected land. This is the largest rollback of federal land protections in our history and still, Congress has done nothing to stop it. In December Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released a recommendation with plans to either shrink or open up the protected lands to drilling, logging, and mining for at least eight more of our national monuments.
Why is conserving our national monuments important? I can think of plenty of reasons but the first that come to mind are:
- We need to conserve our national monuments for our children and grandchildren.
- Our national monuments protect a large variety of archaeological and cultural sites of interest – like early Native America settlements and petroglyphs. This rich history needs to be preserved for future generations to learn from and experience.
- What about the wildlife that lives in our national monuments? What will happen to them? This is a major concern, as we can’t push them out of their homes more than we already have.
- Tourism would likely slow-down, which would mean communities would suffer because people are not visiting and are not spending money.
- Unemployment would likely increase in these areas due to job loss.
This is why I’m proud to be partnering with the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), an awesome organization that works to support natural resource defense initiatives as well as to maintain the openness and accessibility of our forests, monuments, and parks to raise awareness. There shouldn’t be any limited access to any of this beautiful land. It should be treasured and protected, wouldn’t you agree? Shrinking our national monuments isn’t what the majority of the public and communities want and to be honest it really doesn’t make a whole lot of darn sense if you ask me. Do you know who is responsible for protecting our national monuments? Our elected officials have a responsibility to protect our national monuments and it’s our job to hold them accountable. Personally, I think we need our elected officials to listen to us and recognize that the majority of us don’t support the plan to rollback protections or sell our public lands. I don’t know about you but I stand with the majority of constituents who want our national monuments to be left alone. We must protect these monuments, especially after the gigantic reduction to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah.
How can we make sure our voices are heard?
Access to our national monuments is being taken away, stolen and destroyed. It’s time for us to fight back and make sure our voices are heard. To learn more visit the Hispanic Access Foundation’s website and be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and visiting ProtectOurNationalMonuments.com. You can also speak out against the Administration’s assault on our public lands by calling on your congressman or senator to do more.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Hispanic Access Foundation. The opinions and text are all mine.