FIGHTING FOR OUR BIRTHRIGHT
Public lands are our birthright. They belong to every American regardless of race, income, gender, or zipcode. Our public lands sustain fish and wildlife, clean air and water, and tell the stories of our people. But public lands are constantly under attack from special interests. There are strong business interests and politicians who would rather dismantle our public lands system to sell them off to the highest bidder, regardless of the consequences it has on the environment and our people. Their motives are privatization and profit from exploitation, at all costs. The Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project, its partners and its members, will fight to keep public lands in public hands in New Mexico where threats are imminent through public advocacy and engagement.
SAVING THE GILA RIVER
The Gila River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest, is home to the nation's first designated wilderness area. History abounds in and around the Gila River. Geronimo, a fierce defender of his Apache homeland, was born among the headwaters of the Gila. Before the nomadic Apache, the inhabitants of the cliffs built their homes in the tributary canyons of the Gila. Fragments of pottery, petroglyphs and pictographs tell the stories of ancient people who lived in the Gila Wilderness thousands of years ago. The ecology of the Gila, as well as the fish and widlife that it sustains, is now under threat from a proposed diversion project that would benefit only a handful of special interests, and Hispanic families would have to bear the financial burden.
PROTECTING OTERO MESA FROM OIL & GAS DEVELOPMENT and hardrock mining
Otero Mesa, located in Otero County, is home to the last Chihuahuan desert grasslands and the nation's last remaining desert prairie. Thousands of ancient pictographs and petroglyphs dot the landscape, preserving the cultural integrity of the Native people who have inhabited it for thousands of years. Places such as Wind Mountain are considered sacred to the Mescalero Apache and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. Otero Mesa is also home to New Mexico's last remaining native pronghorn antelope herds, an abundant mule deer population, and a complex ecosystem of more than 1,000 species of wildlife. But Otero Mesa is in danger of becoming an industrial wasteland - a hotbed for oil and gas development. Otero Mesa must be protected and withdrawn from any potential mineral development for the sake of our future generations.
STOPPING THE BORDER WALL
President-elect Donald Trump's call for a "massive" border wall between the United States and Mexico disregards the rich binational cultural history of the US-Mexico border, including New Mexico. Nuestra Tierra strongly believes that the U.S. can only move forward by strengthening its ties with Mexico and honoring the culture and people that have been here long before the drawing of the US-Mexico boundaries. Additionally, a border wall would permanently harm the Chihuahuan and Sonoran desert ecosystems and wildlife corridors. In March 2017, Nuestra Tierra and one of its founding organizations, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, drafted a letter to New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez asking her to actively oppose the use of state resources to facilitate the construction of the border wall.
PROTECTING THE ORGAN MOUNTAIN-DESERT PEAKS AND RIO GRANDE DEL NORTE NATIONAL MONUMENTS
Two of New Mexico's most culturally significant and protected national monuments are under threat from extremists in Congress. Prominent members of the "Anti-Public Lands Caucus"have threatened to challenge the permanence of monuments created through the Antiquities Act and have vowed to reverse the will of the people. New Mexicans fought hard to preserve their public lands and will not be bullied by those would rather sell off our public lands to the highest bidder. Nuestra Tierra will work to ensure the permanence and additional protection for two of New Mexico's most beautiful treasures. Do you have a story about what makes these monuments special to you? Submit your story and we'll feature it in the Nuestra Tierra Blog.