By Marty Schladen, El Paso Times
As the administration of President Barack Obama winds down, advocates are redoubling their efforts to get him to designate Castner Range on the eastern face of the Franklin Mountains as a national monument.
Local leaders, civic groups and schoolchildren have bombarded the White House with more than 13,000 letters since late last year, asking that it preserve the 7,000-acre parcel, which was used by Fort Bliss for weapons training until a half-century ago.
“We see this as the last chance to preserve this land in perpetuity,” said Janae Reneaud Field, executive director of the Frontera Land Alliance, which is partnering with the Franklin Mountain Wilderness Coalition and the El Paso Community Foundation in the preservation effort.
There’s been talk of preserving the area as wilderness since Franklin Mountain State Park was designated in 1978, Field said.
“Castner Range has great potential,” she said. “It’s going to get developed at some point.”