Opposes ‘pseudo-wilderness’ proposal

May 31, 2008

I applaud the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce as our principal advocate for businesses in Las Cruces and Dona Ana County. However, I am in total opposition to its support of a pseudo wilderness program being pushed by a minority of our residents, who happen to be agricultural members of the Chamber. If I am a member of the Chamber I would seriously question this poor decision. The Chamber should have unhesitatingly endorsed the Citizens’ Wilderness and National Conservation Area Proposal for the Organ Mountains that makes Las Cruces so distinctive. This proposal has the support of a vast majority of Las Crucans.

The Tubac Arizona Chamber of Commerce should be an example to our chamber. They endorsed creation of the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness area. With foresight the Tubac Chamber realized the economic value of wilderness areas and that a rapidly growing Southern Arizona needs undeveloped areas set aside. It recommended that Congress pass legislation to create the wilderness area. This resulted in the the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act of 2007. The Chamber listened to concerns from ranchers in the region who fear that wilderness will adversely effect their grazing allotments and access to the area. However, advocates for the Tumacacori Highlands noted that the proposal would keep current Forest Service roads open and, as in other wilderness areas, ranchers could get permits that allow occasional motorized access to their grazing allotments.

There is strong local business and organizational support for the Organ Mountains protection plan. Our beautiful Organ Mountains deserves and needs wilderness protection. The Organs having 80 species of mammals, 185 species of birds and 60 species of reptiles and amphibians. There is also rare and endangered plant life that do not exist anywhere else in the United States.

As an average citizen I have no power to influence the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce leadership. However if you a member and want to save our magnificent Organ Mountains from housing and commercial developments, contact the leaders of Chamber and tell them what you think! Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th President and a rancher spoke about wilderness and could have been talking about the Organ Mountains: “Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it”.

Greg Lennes

530 La Melodia Drive

Las Cruces, NM 88011

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