FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS NOTES
Newsletter of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition
Next Meeting: November 15, 2006
The next meeting of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition is Wednesday, November 15th at 7 p.m. It takes place in Room 411, Burgess Hall on the UTEP campus. Burgess Hall is at the intersection of Sun Bowl Drive and University Ave. on the west side of the campus. Please be prompt. The building entrance locks automatically in the evenings. If you arrive late and no one is at the door, call 861-4361 and someone will come to let you in. For more information contact Scott Cutler (581-6071).
CASTNER RANGE PETITION UPDATE
“We respectfully urge you and your staff to work actively with Congress and the Department of the Army to achieve the preservation of all of Castner Range in its natural state for the benefit and enjoyment of all Americans forever.” These words close the heading of our petition to Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a petition which has been signed by over 3,300 people since we began our petition drive in the spring.
The enthusiasm of the public for protecting Castner Range has been inspirational! Nearly everyone we approach wants to sign the petition: active duty military, veterans, concert fans, moms, dads, kids, business owners and workers, local celebrities, and everyday people. Now the day (tentatively in December) is swiftly approaching when we will present the petitions to Congressman Reyes at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology on Castner Range. Stay tuned for the date and time. We plan to have extensive media coverage and a big turnout of supporters who want to see Castner Range preserved.
So, folks, that gives us more time to gather more signatures -- let’s try for 10,000! Enlist your friends and family, classmates and office mates, to continue this drive for the next few weeks - any place where people gather is a great place to get signatures: meetings, sports events, school, work, grocery stores, malls, etc. We can do this - if only 50 of us gathered 5 signatures a day for the next 30 days we would pass the 10,000 mark. It’s a good community project for families, scouts, classes, clubs and neighborhood associations.
Blank petitions can be downloaded from our website or call one of our officers and we will get some to you. Anyone who has signed petitions, please bring them to the November 15 meeting or call Kathy McConaghie at 915-227-5330 to arrange pickup. And, please, come to the meeting -- bring your ideas and input for media contacts and increasing turnout for the day of presentation.
EL PASO OPEN SPACE PLANNING
The open-space plan for El Paso continues to take shape. The City's Development Services Department and its planning consultant, Halff Associates, are putting the finishing touches on a draft plan for public review and comment. We'll send an e-mail alert as soon as it is available. In the meantime, visit the City's Open Space Plan website at
to view some of the recommendations from the Open Space Advisory Group and other supporting information. For more information, you can also contact Chuck Kooshian, Lead Planner, 915-541-4632.
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STATE PARK UPDATE
Greetings, from the staff of The Franklin Mountains State Park. On September 23, 2006 the Second Annual Desert Fiesta was held at the Tom Mays Unit; it was a great success. Visitation was up from last year. We at The Franklin Mountains State Park would like to thank everyone involved including the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition and its member organizations who worked hard to make it a success. We also thank the Serna Ranch (Youth Mentorship Program) and The El Paso Police Department West Side Command Center Explorers Group for their active support. This is a program that we hope will continue to evolve and to become a regular yearly event. This is a perfect example of what can be done when organizations pool their resources for a common goal.
Work continues on the trails, unfortunately this will be an ongoing project for some time. Lead Ranger Robert Pichardo and Park Volunteer Robert Newman are in the planning stages for the repair of the Mountain Bike Trails, once repaired the Trails will be more sustainable. The Aztec Caves Trail is also in the process of being repaired and again to be more sustainable, the Fort Bliss Sergeant Majors Academy Volunteers are helping with this project. It won’t happen overnight but the work is in its beginning stages. Our UTEP Fraternity Volunteers dismantled and removed the remains of the bridge leading to Mundy’s Gap. Whether it will be rebuilt or rerouted is still in the planning stages.
The West Cottonwood Mine Shaft was originally cleared from debris from the heavy rains. However, the rains we had this month again made it inaccessible but with help from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Work Crews it has been cleared again and is accessible.
On a different note, four Porcupines have been released over the last couple of months into the Franklin Mountains State Park by The Chihuahuan Desert Wildlife Rescue.
We would like to thank our wonderful staff of Volunteers at the Franklin Mountains State Park and the Franklin Mountain Wilderness Coalition for their continuous and added support.
Danny Contreras, Ranger II, ADSO
Coalition Officers ---- 2006
Acting President: open
Secretary: Nora Butler 915-755-0671
Treasurer Scott Cutler 915-581-6071
Newsletter: Kathy McConaghie 915-227-5330
The Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition
Borderland Mountain Bike Association - - Celebration of Our Mountains - - Chihuahuan Desert Wildlife Rescue - - El Paso Archeological Society - - El Paso Cactus and Rock Club - - El Paso Native Plant Society - - El Paso Regional Group of the Sierra Club - - El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society - - El Paso Wilderness Preservation Committee - - El Paso Women’s Political Caucus - - Friends of the Franklins - - League of Women Voters of El Paso - - Mesilla Valley Audubon Society - - Mountain Park Community Association - - Photography Enthusiasts of El Paso - - Southern New Mexico Group of the Sierra Club
VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT http://iloveparks.com/fmwc/