Friday, October 21, 2016

Study raises hopes for a Castner Range National Monument (El Paso)

Under a crystal blue sky Thursday morning, naturalists and elected officials came together to celebrate what makes Castner Range worthy of national monument status. With the brown, layered rocks of the lower slopes of the Franklin Mountains in the backdrop, the Frontera Land Alliance, the El Paso Community Foundation and the Franklin Mountain Wilderness Coalition introduced the first comprehensive study of the archaeological and historical sites in Castner Range. The findings include extensive collections of petroglyphs, remnants of failed tin mining operations and small stone structures and pottery. "This is the last of the open spaces in El Paso," said Elia Perez, who authored the study. "Let's be honest: The West Side is gone, so this is all we have left. The West Side had a whole bunch of archaeology, but because it's private property they can do with the land pretty much what they want." The hope is that President Barack Obama will designate Castner Range as a national monument. In 2014 under the Antiquities Act of 1906, he designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Doña Ana County. Castner Range is 7,081 acres of land that goes from the northeast quadrant of the Franklin Mountains to the far west, almost to the top of North Franklin, the tallest peak of the Franklin Mountains, which is about 7,192 feet above sea level. The western boundary of Castner Range is the eastern boundary of Franklin Mountains State Park. "The efforts to preserve Castner Range, all 7,000 acres of it, is at its strongest point," said U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso. "We have over 30,000 El Pasoans who have written letters to the president asking that he preserve it."...more

Also see  El Pasoans continue to push for national monument designation

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