El Paso

El Pasoans push to preserve Castner Range as National Monument

EL PASO, Texas - Community members and leaders hoping to preserve Castner Range as a national monument will meet at the EPCC Transmountain Campus in Northeast El Paso Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

The meeting organized by the Castner Range National Monument organization and Congressman Beto O’Rourke will be held at the EPCC Transmountain Forum Theater, 9570 Gateway North.

Supporters hope to protect the land, where Mexican poppies bloom only a few days out of the year, from development.

"We want to pass this along to our kids and we want to share it with the rest of the world and a national monument designation does that," Congressman Beto O'Rourke said.

The designation would place it under the care of the federal government, like the White Sands National Monument. The area is now closed because of explosives which may still detonate, but it could be cleaned and opened to the public for recreational use like the Franklin Mountain State Park which it borders.

"Castner Range is our opportunity to share our cultural heritage with the generations that follow us. This meeting will allow our community to demonstrate our uniform support to preserve Castner Range as a national monument to the White House,” O’Rourke said.

ABC-7 has learned a representative from the Obama administration is scheduled to be at the meeting, which is also planned to be streamed to high-ranking DC officials to show local support for the initiative.

The movement, supporters say, needs to be sped up.

"It is highly unlikely that Castner Range would be preserved as a National Monument if the decision was left to the incoming Trump administration, so it raises the urgency for our community to make this case in the final weeks of the Obama administration", said O'Rourke.

To RSVP for the meeting you can check out the group’s Facebook event here.

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