This is a Co-Op Column publish originally in El Paso Inc.
Many of us drive over the Transmountain Pass without giving more than a moment’s thought about the mountains and wildlife surrounding us.
What many El Pasoans may not realize is the gem we have in the Franklin Mountains, and in particular, Castner Range on the northeast side of the mountains. This area is unique among other desert landscapes in many ways.
For example, the Chihuahuan Desert – in which Castner Range is located – is one of the most biodiverse deserts on the planet. We have species of plants and animals in this part of the country that do not exist anywhere else on earth, and Castner Range provides El Pasoans with beautiful mountain views on a daily basis.
Most of us also know about the beautiful Mexican poppies, which make their home in Castner Range.
We have an opportunity to show our appreciation for the natural beauty in this region by supporting a current campaign asking the Department of Interior to declare Castner Range a national monument. If this bid is successful, we will have the support of the federal government to preserve this area into the future, and areas of the region could be accessible to the public for outdoor activities.
This is also a move that can put El Paso in the national spotlight and bring business and visitors to our region.
Signing a letter of support only takes a minute, but that minute can have longstanding impact for good in our city. Go to http://castnerrangenationalmonument.org/ to sign the letter today.
It is our duty and privilege to protect what we have in El Paso. We are proud that we have such a gorgeous natural area to enjoy here and we hope to agree as a community that we need to protect this for future generations of El Pasoans to enjoy.
Amy Wagler, Ph.D., is an associate professor of mathematical sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso. She is a faculty fellow for UTEP’s Center for Civic Engagement and a board member of Frontera Land Alliance. Ron Wagler, Ph.D., is an associate professor of science education at UTEP, and founder and director of the Living Arthropod and Environmental Education Laboratory. For more information about Castner Range, visit fronteralandalliance.org.