For Immediate Release
September 1, 2016
Contact: Carrie Hamblen, 575-323-1575
**Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks / White Sands / Prehistoric Trackways National Monuments**
Monuments to Main Street Month celebration kicks off today
Events highlight economic, cultural value of
Southern NM’s protected public lands
(LAS CRUCES) — As part of the nationwide celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, Las Cruces area tourism, business and conservation organizations today launched a month-long celebration of the positive community and economic benefits of the region’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Prehistoric Trackways and White Sands National Monuments.
“These monuments, in addition to several other state parks and recreation areas in our region, attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Southern New Mexico and pump millions of dollars into our local economies every year,” said Carrie Hamblen, CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. “This month of events is a strong recognition by local businesses that having these protected public lands at our doorstep is a blessing to be promoted and celebrated.”
Monuments to Main Street Month kicks off Sept. 1 with a guided stargazing tour of Leasburg State Park, followed by a Billy the Kid historical sites tour and the Las Cruces Corks and Kegs Wine and Beer Festival at Burn Lake Park.
In addition, the month will be filled a diverse menu of events including:
· guided nature tours of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks sites;
· a yoga and massage health and wellness event in the shadow of the Organ Mountains;
· two moonlight walks at White Sands;
· the designation of a White Sands National Monument Girl Scout Patch;
· Aerial helicopter tours of important sites;
· the Hatch Chile Festival;
· and the Las Cruces Comic-Con just to name a few marquee events associated with Monuments to Mainstreet.
“As you can tell by the diversity of events that are happening all throughout the community, having these protected areas has been a source or great excitement and momentum for our entire region,” Hamblen said.
Hamblen added that the way business, conservation, tourism and cultural organizations have come together in the Las Cruces region to promote the monuments should serve as a shining example for how other communities can embrace protected public lands.
“The research has been clear. Western communities with protected public lands tend to have less unemployment and better economic prospects than western communities with no protected land,” Hamblen said. “We have enthusiastically embraced Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Preshistoric Trackways and White Sands as assets to be promoted and celebrated.”
Monuments to Main Street Month also coincides with a recently introduced bill in Congress to offer increased protections to some of the lands within the boundaries of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The act, co-sponsored by Senators Udall and Heinrich, seeks to complete the community’s vision for protection within the monument by ensuring that these lands will remain open to hunting, outdoor recreation and grazing while providing gold-standard protection for the wildest places within the national monument.
“As we mark the centennial of the National Park Service this year, it has become clear to the people of Las Cruces and our neighboring communities that protected public lands are America’s greatest idea in more ways than one,” Hamblen said. “Our nation’s conservation ethic not only protects uniquely beautiful places for future generations, it also provides an economic boon for local businesses that are – right now — benefitting from the tourist dollars and interest these lands attract.”