Sierra Club, Military Families Explore Organ Mountains
Las Cruces, NM: Over 60 military service members and their families will attend an outing in the Organ Mountains this weekend hosted by the Sierra Club. Complete with hikes, a kids program, educational speakers and camping, the event offers a unique opportunity for families from Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range to experience the power of the outdoors and learn why this place needs to be permanently protected.
“Stress and anxiety are an unfortunate part of the lives of military families—whether it’s moving from state to state for active duty members or the sense of isolation that comes from being a part of the Guard or Reserves,” said Stacy Bare, Sierra Club Mission Outdoors director. “Our military families deserve to unplug, take a day off, and enjoy the outdoor treasure they have in their backward. We are grateful to Blue Star Families and Armed Forces YMCA for helping us identify military families to enjoy this outing.”
Over the last few years the Sierra Club has worked with over 50,000 service members, veterans, and family members from all over the country to help ease the stresses of service and coming home by helping them get outside.
“We wanted to show our appreciation for our nation’s heroes and the public lands they work to protect by doing what we do best-- showing them a good time outside at a place that is near and dear to our hearts, the Organ Mountains,” said Debbie Hendrix, Fort Bliss Chapter Director from Blue Star Families.
The steep-sided crevices, canyons and majestic spires of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area host stunning views, great recreation opportunities, archaeological sites and many plants found nowhere else in the world.
Unfortunately this treasure faces risks from poor urban planning and potential mining and energy development. The area, which includes beloved places like the Robledo Mountains, Broad Canyon, and the Valles Canyon Petroglyphs, needs permanent protection. Such protection would preserve irreplaceable archaeological and prehistoric sites, while safeguarding outdoor recreation opportunities that are so important for military families, tourism and the quality of life in New Mexico. A number of economic studies have shown that permanent protection would create jobs for New Mexicans and give Dona Ana County a competitive economic advantage.
“Protecting public lands like the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area is a win-win for us all,” said Eliza Kretzmann, New Mexico Representative of the Sierra Club. “It’s good for families, business and nature.”
Recently, the America the Beautiful pass was created for military members. This free pass covers entrance and amenity fees at more than 2,000 federal recreation sites nationwide, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national monuments. For more information visit: www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm
Kristina Ortez, 505-206-9629
Roger Singer, 303-884-0064
Eliza Kretzmann, 505-310-3694