EL PASO INC. Castner Range on Top 10 list of places to preserve

The “Top Ten List of Places Important to the Latino Community” report has just been released by the Hispanic Access Foundation, a national group based in Washington, D.C. And Castner Range is No. 4 on the list.

The report’s authors write that Castner Range, a former artillery range bordering Franklin Mountains State Park in Northeast El Paso, “has been the never-changing backdrop to the ever-changing urban landscape that is El Paso.”

For the Hispanic Access Foundation, or HAF, Castner Range’s cultural landscape attests to numerous prehistoric and historic resources that include Native American narratives, Spanish conquistador records, U.S. military history and, above all, the stories and traditions of El Paso’s Hispanics.

“Latinos have been a part of the United States since its inception, and their representation in these protected areas is important to telling a more complete story of America,” says Maité Arce, HAF’s president and CEO.

The HAF strongly advocates that Castner Range be declared a national monument. The monument campaign kicked into high gear on Nov. 12, 2015 with U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s support. The protection offered by making the Castner Range a national monument would ensure that its cultural and historic attributes, as well as its landscape “remain available to the public for generations to come,” according to the HAF

The HAF is a nonprofit organization that connects Latinos with partners and opportunities, especially those promoting good physical health and a healthy natural environment. It sponsors Latino Conservation Week, which includes dozens of conservation and outdoor-related events across the country, and advocates “for the protection of sites that are important to the diverse Latino narrative and history of the United States.”

Full report: hispanicaccess.org/sites/default/files/LHS_Report.pdf

Janaé Reneaud Field is the executive director of The Frontera Land Alliance of El Paso.