Public Lands

Public Lands

Open-space plan takes shape in Los Alamos County

oriole © MK Ray

By Craig Martin, January 15, 2015

The proposed Open Space System incorporates lands currently identified under county ordinance, the zoning-overlay Public Land (Wilderness-1), and several small parcels through which county trails pass. The proposal would simply identify this land as open space.

It creates a unified system of Green Space that connects the lower canyons with the foothills and mountains of the Santa Fe National Forest.

The proposed system would protect:
• Vistas and viewpoints that form the backdrop to life in Los Alamos;

Wilderness 50 celebration a wild success

Pecos wilderness sign

By Victoria Regina

October 15 through the 19 were some “wild days” for Albuquerque. The 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act was celebrated with a conference and the Get Wild Festival.

The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter played a major role in the festivities. The conference and festival were attended by more than 1,200 people from all over the world.

Dustin Chavez-Davis, Sierra Club Our Wild America associate organizing representative, and volunteer Peggy Norton took about 30 people on bike trips to the Rio Grande Bosque on Oct. 15 and 19.

Pipeline proposed near Chaco

chaco julie wilt.jpg

By Teresa Seamster, Northern New Mexico Group Co-Chair, December 15, 2014

In July, a Colorado-based company filed an application to build 140 miles of pipeline across federal, state, Navajo, and private land in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico. The Piñon Pipeline would carry 50,000 barrels of oil per day, more than four times current production.

Columbine-Hondo, Valles Caldera bills pass


By Teresa Seamster, December 15, 2014

In December, the U.S. Congress approved the transfer of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service as part of the Defense Authorization Bill during the lame-duck session of Congress.

The Valles Caldera would have otherwise reverted in 2020 to general U.S. Forest Service land with no dedicated staff or budget if Congress had not acted to locate the preserve within the National Park Service. The Columbine-Hondo in Northern New Mexico was also declared a Wilderness Area, protecting 45,000 acres.

All about the BLM and how to make a difference on our public lands

The Bureau of Land Management's public process is one of the most effective ways we can influence wildlife management, oil and gas drilling and protection of special sites on public land. But how does it work, and how can you make a difference? Ever wonder what NEPA, ACEC and other BLM-related terms mean? Join us Saturday and find out.

Jennifer Montoya of the BLM's Las Cruces office has kindly agreed to come to El Paso on Saturday, Dec. 13, to explain the BLM's mandate and how stakeholders, not just the Sierra Club, can engage the agency.

Sierra Club & Beers: Cibola Forest: Wilderness in Your Back Yard.

Thursday, December 11th
The Sierra Club presents

Sierra Club & Beers: Cibola Forest: Wilderness in Your Back Yard.


4-8 p.m. Sunday, December 7, 2014
Tortuga Gallery, 901 Edith Boulevard Southeast Albuquerque, NM, 87102 United States

Hard to believe but nearly a year has gone by since our first Bosque Bash. Because of your passion and commitment we have made tremendous strides in keeping our beloved Bosque a natural wonder. Join us on Sunday December 7th at Tortuga Gallery (901 Edith Blvd SE) for another joyous evening of food, fun, family, community…and of course great music, including Sage & Jared’s Happy Gland Band, Sweet Spot, Throw the Temple, Cali Shaw and more!!! Start time TBD.

El Paso activists join Otero Mesa team

Otero Mesa

By Dan Lorimier, Chapter Conservation Coordinator

In November 2013, El Paso Group activists met to create a campaign plan to gain National Monument status for Otero Mesa. The plan calls for grassroots education and volunteer opportunities as well as media, ecological and Congressional profile-raising and awareness in the area.

This is a new and important voice from Rio Grande Chapter Texans for permanently protecting this vast area that boasts iconic geologic, archaeological and historical records.

Columbine Hondo wilderness study area legislation introduced in Congress


By Norma McCallan

The Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area near Taos has a better chance of being upgraded to a full-fledged Wilderness area. The Senate’s Energy & Natural Resources subcommittee on Public Lands recently held a hearing on the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act (SB776), at which our senators, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, testified. It must now go before the full committee. Introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman in the 112th Congress, this bill had stalled, along with many other conservation bills.

Organs: Future tied to our past

photo by Eliza Kretzmann

By Lucas Herndon, Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

When I meet someone who is relatively new to Las Cruces, invariably their reasons for coming here include the phrase “and when I saw those Organ Mountains…” This is a point of pride for everyone in our community. Granite spires dominate the eastern skyline and give us a few extra moments of sleep before sunrise every morning and offer new colors of purple and blue as the sun sets in the evening.

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