Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument

The Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument is a United States national monument in the state of New Mexico, managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Landscape Conservation System.

Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument
A map of New Mexico showing the location of Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument
A map of New Mexico showing the location of Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument
LocationDoña Ana County, New Mexico, United States
Nearest cityLas Cruces, NM
Coordinates32°19′34″N 106°33′18″W / 32.326°N 106.555°W / 32.326; -106.555[1]
Area496,330 acres (200,860 ha)
EstablishedMay 21, 2014
Governing bodyBureau of Land Management
WebsiteOrgan Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument
Moonrise over Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument


Organ Mountains

The 496,330-acre (200,860 ha) monument is located in the Mesilla Valley in southern New Mexico, surrounding the city of Las Cruces in Doña Ana County. The protected area includes several mountain ranges of the Chihuahuan Desert. The five identified as being within the national monument are the Robledo Mountains, Sierra de las Uvas, Doña Ana Mountains, Organ Mountains and Potrillo Mountains.[2] The Prehistoric Trackways National Monument is nearby.[2] The monument protects a large variety of geological, paleontological and archaeological resources.[2]

President Barack Obama designated the monument on May 21, 2014.[3] Half of the monument is designated wilderness and closed to development or motorized use.[4]

Protected areasEdit

Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks protects many archaeological and cultural sites of interest.[5] Before the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, this land included the border between Mexico and the United States.[6] The Aden Lava Flow Wilderness is here[2] and there are 243 known archaeological sites within the monument,[4] including some of the earliest Native American settlements and petroglyphs known from three different tribes.[4] The land also includes Shelter Cave and Conkling Cavern.[6] Fossils of ground sloths have been found in the area.[2]

More recently the land was used by William H. Bonney, better known as the outlaw Billy the Kid, and Geronimo, a leader during the Apache Wars, both of whom lived in various parts of New Mexico in the 19th century.[4] It is said that Billy the Kid visited "Outlaw Rock", and there is a cave known as "Geronimo's Rock".[6] The monument also includes 22 miles (35 km) of the historic Butterfield Stagecoach Trail.[7]

The monument includes sites where World War II bombers practiced their targeting, as well as Kilbourne Hole in the Potrillo volcanic field, where American astronauts trained for lunar missions in the 1960s.[7]

Campaign for establishmentEdit

The area was given national monument status following a campaign by conservation advocates that lasted several years. Several bills were introduced in Congress to protect the area through legislation, but they were blocked by House Republicans. In contrast with some previous monument designations, communities and governments of Doña Ana County were supportive of the application for designation. A poll found that 60 percent of the local voters favored establishing this land as a 500,000-acre national monument.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Organ Mountains". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Presidential Proclamation – Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument, Barack Obama, The White House, 21 May 2014
  3. ^ "Obama declares the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks region of N.M. a national monument". Published May 21, 2014. Washington Post. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d New National Monument Created in New Mexico, National Geographic, retrieved 9 June 2014
  5. ^ "Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks". New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument Fact Sheet,, retrieved 9 June 2014
  7. ^ a b Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument to be Protected,, retrieved 9 June 2014
  8. ^ Poll finds strong support for larger Organ Mountains proposal, Phil Taylor, Environment and Energy Publishing, 23 January 2014

External linksEdit