Created: 05/19/2014 3:19 PM
By: The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Following a nearly decade long campaign to gain protection for the Organ Mountains in southern New Mexico, the White House says President Barack Obama will designate the area a national monument.
In a press release Monday, the White House said Obama will establish the Organ-Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument on Wednesday.
The announcement was hailed by sportsmen and local officials, who have been working to gain the protected status for the nearly half million acres in the Mesilla Valley.
Supporters estimate the designation will generate more than $7.4 million in additional annual economic activity, double the number of jobs supported by outdoor recreation and tourism, and protect natural, cultural and historical sites in DoÃ±a Ana County.
Opponents argue it will make it harder to patrol the Mexican border and hurt ranching.
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