HR 6300 Legislation Overview & Facts

Learn more about this Legislative Proposal, endorsed by respected professionals and
supported by a Coalition of
OVER 800 businesses and community organizations.

Full Text of HR 6300 Legislation

The Case for Rangeland Preservation Areas - an overview of this new and innovative land use designation.

For additional background information, see our videos and audio/visual presentations.

Identified Community Expectations:

1. Permanent retention of open space
2. Provision for planned economic and population growth
3. Unrestricted application of Homeland Security and law enforcement activities
4. Prevention of the unlawful use of motorized vehicles off designated roads
5. Continued access to the areas for ALL segments of the public
6. Perpetuation of historical ranching operations
7. Access for flood control and water capture projects
8. Enhancement of wildlife and rangeland health
9. Integrity with respect to historical Wilderness concepts and law

The DONA ANA COUNTY PLANNED GROWTH, OPEN SPACE AND RANGELAND PRESERVATION ACT - THE PEOPLE'S PROPOSAL meets the community expectations, and does not discriminate against the sportsman, rancher, handicapped community, camper or other recreationalists.  As a result, a more diverse group will be able to enjoy these wonderful lands.

See our "At a Glance Comparison Chart" - Federal Wilderness designations & Rangeland Preservation Areas

See our "Legislation Information & Facts" for additional information.

View the map of identified BLM disposal lands in Dona Ana County.

1991 BLM Record of Decision on wilderness recommendations.


Congressman Pearce Introduces H.R.6300

Dona Ana County Planned Growth, Open Space and Rangeland Preservation Act of 2008

PFPOWH Press Release 06/23/2008
Click here to view the legislation (PDF)



New Mexico Stockman article series:

"The Wilderness Man (Likely) cometh!"  (09/29/2008)
"New Mexico's 'Wilderness Advocates' - Their Faces and Their Agendas" (09/29/2008)
"The Little Bill That Could, And Should, Become Law"  (09/29/2008)
"The Gila Wilderness and a Ranch Family History"  (10/15/08)
"Border Wilderness in the Potrillo Mountains?"  (11/14/08)
"What are the True Costs of Wilderness?"   (12/17/08)
"Dona Ana County Wilderness - Proposal at adds with current ecological science" (01/17/09)
"An Alternative to Wilderness Designation" (02/17/09)
"The Case for Rangeland Preservation Areas"  (03/17/09)
"Range Management - The Tools, Rules and Benefits of Grazing" (04/28/09)
"Implications of the Big Hatchet Mountain Wilderness Proposal" (06/20/09)
"The Border and a Modern Cowboy" (08/05/09)

"Wilderness Act Hijacked" - article by William Rice for the New Mexico Stockman.

Blue Ribbon Coalition

"New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce proposes innovative land-use legislation"  (07/31/08)
This article is re-printed with permission from the BlueRibbon Magazine.  Learn more about BlueRibbon Coalition at www.sharetrails.org.

"Off the Leash" by Jim Scarantino for Heath Hassamen's blog:

Part 1 - "Pearce's conservation bill: What's not to like?" (07/03/08)
Part 2 - "Pearce's conservation bill: What's not to like?" (07/17/08)

New West article series by Rebecca Powell:

Part 1 - "A Biased Observer of the Dona Ana County Wilderness Debate"  (06/17/08)
Part 2 - "For Some, Wilderness is Simple"  (06/19/08)
Part 3 - "Pearce Submits People's Proposal to the House"  (06/23/08)

Part 4 - "New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Catches Blame"   (07/01/08)

Part 5 - "People for Preservation of Our Western Heritage Catches Praise"  (07/02/08)
Part 6 - "Small Defends Wilderness Proposal"  (07/08/08)
Part 7 - "To Clean a Dirt Tank and the Real Loss


RANGE Magazine article by Henry Lamb "Best of Both Worlds"

Las Cruces Sun News letter to the editor "How do we preserve our natural resources?" by Jerry G. Schickedanz, Dean emeritus of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics,
and Gerald W. Thomas is President emeritus of New Mexico State University. 

World Net Daily article by Henry Lamb "The Cowboys Score"

Albuquerque Alibi article by Jim Scarantino - "Green Cowboy Hats - Ranchers step up to protect federal lands"



The Village of Hatch unanimously passed Resolution No. 732 on March 3, 2008, endorsing the DONA ANA COUNTY PLANNED GROWTH, OPEN SPACE AND RANGELAND PRESERVATION ACT - THE PEOPLE'S PROPOSAL.



The Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce voted at their 2/14/08 meeting to endorse the DONA ANA COUNTY PLANNED GROWTH, OPEN SPACE AND RANGELAND PRESERVATION ACT - THE PEOPLE'S PROPOSAL



The audio of the Las Cruces City Council meeting from Tuesday, 1/29/08 is available on the city's website.  This is an excellent way to learn more about this proposed landmark legislation.

Tom Cooper and Frank DuBois made a presentation to the Council on our proposed legislation.  The first 20 minutes of the audio contains the audio portion of our documentary video "How The West Was Lost", and is difficult to hear.  If you're interested, you can watch the video of this documentary directly on our website.  The Mayor's response following the showing of the video begins at 16:39 in the audio segment.  Frank DuBois's presentation begins at 17:50, and the question/answer session follows. 

If you have a high speed connection, the video (clctv.com) of the meeting is also available.  Click on the image in the upper left that says "CLCTV.COM - Click to watch meetings".  This will take some time for the page to load.  Then click on the title for "January 29, 2008 - LC Special Meeting & Council Meeting" for the video of the meeting.  The presentation on our legislation begins after the discussion about the animal shelter.  There does not appear to be a way to "fast-forward" the video.


Eliminating people and access to the land with restrictive
Federal Wilderness designation is certainly one way to "protect" them. 

But it is NOT the only way!

We are hopeful that this innovative proposal can serve as a model
for other areas where Federal Wilderness designation proposals are
inappropriate and have been met with broad community concern and resistance. 

The Special Preservation Areas (SPAs) and Rangeland Preservation Areas (RPAs) established by our proposed legislation will meet the community expectations outlined above and provide the beneficial preservation results people desire without the limitations and restrictions of federally-controlled wilderness areas.  Open space will be preserved in perpetuity and the established historical uses of the land such as ranching, hunting and recreation will be accommodated. 

Our legislative proposal includes approximately 302,000 acres of federal lands:

  • Dona Ana Mountains Special Preservation Area

  • Picacho Peak Special Preservation Area

  • Organ Mountains Rangeland Preservation Area

  • Las Uvas Mountains Watershed & Rangeland Preservation Area

  • Robledo Mountains Watershed & Rangeland Preservation Area

  • Potrillo National Security & Rangeland Preservation Area




  l These Rangeland Preservation Area (RPA) and Special Preservation Area (SPA) lands could never be sold or exchanged.  The areas will be permanently withdrawn from disposal and can never be put into private ownership for development.
  l The RPA and SPA federal lands will be permanently withdrawn from the mining and mineral leasing laws.
  l Motorized vehicles are allowed on BLM designated roads only.
  l No off-road travel is allowed, with three noted exceptions:
Range Improvements
Flood Control & Water Capture projects
Law Enforcement Activities
  l Establishment of a local Advisory Board to participate in the land disposal process.
  - Las Cruces BLM Director, and a representative from the County, City of Las Cruces, Business Community, Ranching Community, Conservation Community, and Elephant Butte Irrigation District
  l Land disposal proceeds to be allocated for local use and improvement projects.
  l Two other titles from the original Domenici draft legislation have been included:
  - 7,800 acre land exchange between NMSU and the BLM (NMSU Ranch - trade of surface acres for mineral rights)
  - Existing BLM resource management planning prescribed disposal of previously identified public lands, to be sold to facilitate necessary community growth and development and reduce the pressure to sell privately owned farm and ranch lands

Get additional information on the growing Coalition of businesses and community organizations endorsing this effort, and how you can JOIN to show your support.

For more detailed information, click on the links below:

Legislative Executive Summary
Proposed Legislation
Full Text of HR 6300
Proposed Map

BLM Disposal Lands Map

Read our Press Releases for this legislation, and see our News page for related news items.

Email us with comments at:  westernheritagealliance@gmail.com

For additional background information on land disposal issues:

  PRESS RELEASE 12/07/2007


*Group gains significant support from local businesses

A broad coalition of organizations, businesses, ranchers, sportsmen and individuals has officially submitted a plan to preserve open space, provide border security and protect ranching to the New Mexico congressional delegation.

In conjunction with submitting the comprehensive proposal, the group, People for Preserving our Western Heritage (PPWH), also announced that it has added more than 500 local and regional businesses to its coalition.

According to PPWH co-chairman, Tom Cooper, the group completed its plan which will provide protection for large areas of open space in Dona Ana County without "oppressive" federal wilderness designations that remove access to the land forever.

"The fact of the matter is that federal wilderness will put families out of business and ranches out of production in Dona Ana County. Our plan provides for reasonable alternatives while also providing for border security," Cooper said.

Cooper also announced that PPWH has signed up over 525 local and regional businesses that support the legislation and oppose federal wilderness designations. The proposed bill will provide unique preservation areas that encompass the spirit and stewardship of local control while providing for abundant, permanently protected open space.

According to PPWH co-chair, Tom Mobley, the proposed legislation is titled "The Dona Ana County Planned Growth, Open Space and Rangeland Preservation Act of 2008" and is a carefully crafted document that calls for Special Preservation Areas and Rangeland Preservation Areas. "What we have put together provides a balanced approach to preservation and protection of our federal land, natural resources and open space without sacrificing access or beneficial use of the land," Mobley said.

Mobley said the group has produced a video and a power-point presentation on the proposal that are available to any business, civic group or interested individuals.

Under the proposed legislation the following federal lands totaling 302,000 acres are protected:

1. The Dona Ana Mountains Special Preservation Area.

2. Picacho Peak Special Preservation Area.

3. The Organ Mountains Rangeland Preservation Area.

4. The Las Uvas Mountains Watershed and Rangeland Preservation Area.

5. The Robledo Mountains Watershed and Rangeland Preservation Area.

6. The Potrillo National Security and Rangeland Preservation Area.

PRESS RELEASE 10/23/2007

Progressive plan for preserving and enhancing 302,000 acres of federal land in Dona Ana County released by citizen's group.

An alternative plan to preserve and protect federal lands in Dona Ana County and around Las Cruces, New Mexico has been released by People For Preserving Our Western Heritage.  The draft legislation will be submitted to Senators Pete Domenici, Jeff Bingaman and Congressman Steve Pearce following its review by local governmental entities, interested groups and individuals. 

The core of the draft legislation establishes unique protected areas that, "maintain and preserve open spaces" and also accommodate established uses such as ranching, recreation and hunting. The categories being proposed include Special Preservation Areas (SPA's) and Rangeland Preservation Areas (RPA's).

According to PPWH co-chairman, Tom Cooper, the plan carefully addresses all the concerns that have been raised without creating federally-controlled wilderness areas. "We know a federal wilderness designation is an oppressive land management mandate that locks up the land forever without consideration for any long-term evolvement," Cooper said. "This new plan provides protection for vast amounts of open space while factoring in the current land use realities and it doesn't put families out of business."

Under the proposed legislation the following federal lands totaling 302,000 acres are protected:

1. The Dona Ana Mountains Special Preservation Area.

2. Picacho Peak Special Preservation Area.

3. The Organ Mountains Rangeland Preservation Area.

4. The Las Uvas Mountains Watershed and Rangeland Preservation Area.

5. The Robledo Mountains Watershed and Rangeland Preservation Area.

6. The Potrillo National Security and Rangeland Preservation Area.

Cooper says these new areas would be provided the preservation effect of federal "wilderness" but without the oppressive rules and regulations that have become a major drawback to such proposals.  The plan proposed by PPWH also calls for the "full protection" of the Dona Ana Mountains and Picacho Peak, "from development by withdrawal from all forms of entry, appropriation or disposal under the public land, mining and geothermal leasing laws."

The Preservation Areas were established to protect lands while encompassing "the spirit and stewardship of local control" and providing for "abundant, permanent open space."

Tom Mobley, PPWH co-chairman, said the proposed legislation addresses the fact that most areas proposed for wilderness designation in Dona Ana County do not remotely fit the stringent criteria for such designations as set forth in the Wilderness Act of 1964.  "It is our intent to preserve these lands in question while also taking into account the historical significance of the healthy soil and plant community, wildlife, livestock and the social fabric of this county," Mobley said.

He pointed out that the federal lands in the plan will never be sold or exchanged for development. In addition, Mobley said that with few exceptions, "motorized vehicles will be confined to roads designated under the management plan of the area."  Another tenet of the proposal addresses concerns about expanded flood control, off channel storage and future water supplies which would not be allowed under a federal wilderness designation.

The Potrillo National Security and Rangeland Preservation Area focuses on the expert opinions of law enforcement officials regarding border security.  The concern is that a wilderness designation along the U.S./Mexico border would, "constitute an amplified national security threat."

"We have made a serious effort to include the concerns of all the stakeholders with this proposed legislation. It is aimed at retention of open space, flood control, border security, continued public access, protection of historic ranching operations, wildlife and rangeland health all wrapped up in a package that is true to the fidelity of historic wilderness concepts," Cooper said.

To review and comment on the complete legislative plan, executive summary and associated map, log on to the website: www.peopleforwesternheritage.com