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Home | Tag Archives: Castner Range

Tag Archives: Castner Range

Frontera, Community Foundation Enter Partnership in Fund for Conservation

Thursday morning, the Frontera Land Alliance (Frontera) announced the establishment of the Frontera Land Alliance Endowment Fund at the El Paso Community Foundation.

The newly-established Fund will help Frontera support a growing number of projects and programs that maximize its impact on the conservation of El Paso’s water, land and wildlife.

Via a news release, officials with Frontera stated, “With sustained financial support, Frontera can do an even better job of making sure our region’s future generations have pristine open space to treasure and enjoy forever…Frontera believes that everyone should have the ability to live in a healthy community and enjoy a connection with nature.”

Founded in 2004, when community members realized there was an urgent need to preserve some of the important remaining natural and working lands in El Paso and southern New Mexico, Frontera has developed the knowledge and expertise to provide guidance to land owners wanting to maintain the character of their land.

“When land trusts include more people, more lives are improved and, in turn, broader support for conservation is generated. The U.S. population is expected to grow by 100 million people over the next 50 years. This means an ever-increasing pressure to develop more land. Our population is also becoming more diverse which means diverse constituents must be served to stay relevant. In addition to demographic changes, many Americans of all backgrounds are growing up without a strong connection to nature, and that can negatively impact action towards preservation and conservation,” Frontera officials added.

The El Paso Community Foundation was established in 1977 to foster philanthropy and provide a long term endowment to address the unique opportunities and challenges of the El Paso, southern New Mexico and Ciudad Juárez region.

Additionally, the foundation provides a wide-range of philanthropic services in the region as a grant maker, convener and leadership organization to the community. Since its founding, the Foundation has granted just under $190 million to the community.

Frontera is the only nationally-accredited 501(c)3 land trust in the El Paso area.

City to Preserve 366 Acres Near Castner Range

During Tuesday’s meeting, El Paso City Council voted to spend $3.5 million to acquire 366 acres of open space in Northeast El Paso near Castner Range.

Council’s vote represents the largest open space land acquisition by the City of El Paso.

“Preserving open space at the foothills of our majestic Franklin Mountains is an important investment in our future. It allows our beautiful desert environment to remain in its natural state for scenic and recreational purposes, and helps to balance land preservation and development,” Mayor Dee Margo said.

The City negotiated a total acquisition price of $3.5 million for approximate 280 acres and the donation of approximately 72 acres valued at $1.3 million. The remaining approximate 14 acres are to be dedicated to the City through a plat.

Funding for the land acquisition is a combination of monies approved by voters in 2012 for the preservation and stewardship of El Paso’s natural areas for the public and wildlife, and Public Service Board Dual Purpose Fund.

“Our aggressive pursuit of conservation opportunities is another example of the progress we have made in executing initiatives our voters have said are important to them,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said. “Since the election, we have negotiated the largest open space land acquisition in the City’s history, completed more than 60 bond projects and are getting dozens more projects shovel ready.”

National Defense Authorization Act of 2018: “No Building Allowed on Castner Range”

On Tuesday, the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed by the U.S House of Representatives. Locally, this means that El Paso’s Castner Range will remain entirely free of development and other commercial enterprise to the benefit of our community, borderland region and future generations.

Via a news release, officials with The Frontera Land Alliance, the El Paso area’s only 501(c)3 land-trust organization , said that “U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke and his staff were largely responsible for this victory.”

In the same release, Janaé Reneaud Field, Executive Director, said she was pleased to learn that Sec. 2846 will protect and conserve “the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources” of the Range.

“Castner covers 25% of the Franklin Mountains, including much of their highest peak, and the protection afforded by Sec. 2846 goes a very long way towards conserving the Range for all time,” she added.

“Our Frontera community has long been working to protect Castner Range, one of El Paso’s beautiful backdrops. We thank the commitment of Congressman O’Rourke and his team for pursing our vision of a landscape that is accessible and is also an education resource for our regional youth,” said Scott Cutler, President of The Frontera Land Alliance (Frontera) and also the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition (FMWC).

“El Pasoans know and love Castner Range for its annual display of golden poppies. Together with Castner Range Coalition, which includes Frontera, FMWC and El Paso Community Foundation—have long been working to protect the Range as natural open space. El Paso has campaigned to conserve the Range since 1971, and now with the leadership of Congressman O’Rourke we are one step closer to realizing our community’s vision of a perpetually-preserved Castner Range National Monument,” said native El Pasoan Angel Peña, Rio Bravo Regional Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, a national group that has also been active in the Castner Range campaign.

Dozens of natural and cultural studies have led to the well-documented identification of a variety of plants, animals and archaeological sites that make the range’s 7,081 open-space acres more than worthy of protection as a National Monument.

Researchers have identified more than forty archaeological and historical sites on the Range including extensive collections of petroglyphs, remnants of failed tin-mining operations, and small stone structures and pottery.

By January 2017 more than 35,200 individuals from El Paso and surrounding areas had written letters asking then-President Barack Obama to designate El Paso’s Castner Range as America’s next National Monument.

Preservationists to Release First Comprehensive Report Treasures of Castner Range

While most El Pasoans know Castner Range only for its annual display of poppies, the Frontera Land Alliance, the El Paso Community Foundation, and the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition have documented a host of other objects which make the range’s 7,000 acres of open space worthy of protection as a National Monument.

Researchers have identified more than forty archaeological and historical sites within Castner Range including extensive collections of petroglyphs, remnants of failed tin mining operations, and small stone structures and pottery.

A complete listing is included in the Archaeological and Historical Background Study of Castner Range which will be released by the Frontera Land Alliance on Thursday, October 20, 2016.

Preservation of Castner Range as a National Monument is an initiative of the Frontera Land Alliance. Visit for more information.

The Frontera Land Alliance protects — forever — natural areas, working farms and ranches, water and wildlife for future generations in the West Texas and Southern New Mexico region of the Chihuahuan Desert.

WHO:         Ms. Elia Perez, Author, Archeological and Historical Background Study of Castner Range

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, 16th Congressional District of Texas

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser

State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, District 29

State Rep. Joe Moody, District 78

City Rep. Carl Robinson, District 4

EPISD Trustee Susie Byrd, District 3

Ms. Marie Otero, Teacher, El Paso High School

Esmeralda Amaya, Student, El Paso High School

WHAT:              Release of the Archaeological and Historical Background Study of Castner Range

WHERE:           El Paso Museum of Archaeology 4301 Transmountain Road

WHEN:             Thursday, October 20, 2016  10 a.m.

WHY:               To highlight the first comprehensive analysis of the many historical and archaeological treasures located on Castner Range which deserve the protection afforded by the long-sought National Monument declaration.

Vid+Story: Collins Students Recognized for Castner Range Artwork by Congressman O’Rourke

Last school year the students of Collins Elementary created an art installation that brought awareness to the conservation of Castner Range.

Castner Range is a 7,000 acre piece of land here in Northeast El Paso which was once used as an artillery range for Fort Bliss in the 1960’s.

The land, which is currently owned by the U.S. Department of Defense, is home to various plants and wildlife that are important to the Chihuahuna Desert ecosystem.

The U.S. Department of Defense no longer has a purpose for Castner Range and has decided to sell the land. Since the Northeast is currently developing and changing there is an ever growing fear that the land will be developed for commercial use, therefore displacing wildlife and altering the ecosystem.

Each student created a unique postcard that was sent to Washington D.C. in order to demonstrate their dedication in the preservation of the range. On the back of each postcard students wrote a short letter to President Obama voicing their overall concerns for Castner Range and their need for federal assistance in preserving the land.

Student postcards received immediate attention from Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the person responsible for creating and submitting the Castner Range National Monument Act to the U.S. Congress to try to make the land a national monument.

On Thursday, September 22, O’Rourke presented student artwork before the U.S. Congress during his speech regarding Castner Range. We are so proud of our students for their hard work in creating their postcards and their dedication in helping to make changes within our community.

Texas Group Promotes Castner Range Monument for Latino Conservation Week

This week marks the third annual Latino Conservation Week, and organizers are shining a spotlight on the Latino community’s concern for preserving Texas natural resources.

As part of the event, several groups encouraged Latinos to engage in outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. The Texas League of Conservation Voters will sponsor a hike in the Castner Range of the Franklin Mountains near El Paso, a natural area they are nominating for national monument status, said director Elizabeth Doyal.

“The biggest reason we’re working on turning this into a national monument,” Doyal said, “is a lot of commercial development in the flatter part of the area has been threatening to turn this national treasure into a commercial area.”

According to Doyal, the 7,000 acre Castner Range – once a military bombing range – is home to hundreds of desert plants, reptiles, birds and mammals. Her group and others are seeking monument status under the Federal Antiquities Act, which would block further development and force the military to clear the area of unexploded ordnance.

There are now more than 50 million Latino people living in the U.S. making it the largest minority group in the country. And more than 10 million Latinos currently live in Texas. With so many Latinos in the state, Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation, believes they can play a role in local conservation efforts.

“By Latino voters there is concern about making sure our natural resources are preserved long into the future,” she said, “so, really thinking about tomorrow and protecting those lands from development and other threats.”

Over the past three years, Latino Conservation Week has grown from 17 events in just a handful of states to more than 100 events across the country.

To learn more about Latino Conservation Week, visit

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

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