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by Luke Metzger | by Luke Metzger | Environment America | Mar, 2022

by Luke Metzger | by Luke Metzger | Environment America | Mar, 2022

Castner Range should be a National Monument | by Luke Metzger | Environment America | Mar, 2022

Texans want more nature, and this area is a great place to share with wildlife.

Ellen Montgomery, director of Environment Americas Public Lands Campaign, co-authored this post.

On March 26, Secretary Deb Halaand, Interior Secretary, visited the Castner Range in Texas near El Paso. This was at the invitation of local groups that have been supporting permanent protections of the area. President Biden should declare Castner Range a national monument.

Photo credit: Mark Clune

The Castner RangeThis 7,081-acre former Army artillery station east of El Paso in Franklin Mountains is adjacent to Franklin Mountains State Park. Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is also close by, just across the Texas-New Mexico frontier. Both the monument as well as the state park protect wildlife and plants in the Chihuahuan Desert. Castner Range would be added as an additional protected area to create a wildlife corridor that will support mule deer and mountain lions, javelina, or other wildlife species.

The range includes a Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem that is rich in biodiversity, dry arroyos and natural springs. There are 62 species of birds, hawks, mammals, mountain lions, foxes, rabbits, and threatened species like western burrowing owl. Douglas Brinkley, an historian, recently notedThis stunning swath of Franklin Mountains would be a great conservation achievement.

Organ Mountains Desert Peaks, photo: Bureau of Land Management

It’s good for El Paso, and good for Texas to clean up any unexploded ordinances and open up the Castner Range for recreational activities like camping, hiking, and biking. This area is a wonderful example of land that Texans can enjoy and share with wildlife.

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