Posted on February 18, 2016 by Rose
Richard Teschner our February guest speaker spoke about making Castner Range a National Monument.
Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced in December 2015 that he would play a leading role in the initiative to make Castner Range a National Monument, thus preserving it forever.
Overview: Castner Range occupies 11 square mile on the eastern slopes of the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, TX. The Range is in nearly pristine condition today, thanks to the stewardship of the US Army that owns the land, and to the potential for unexploded ordnance of the Range. Commercial development of the flatter (eastern) parts of Castner has long been a threat to this natural treasure and remains so to this day.
Bountiful Castner Range: In the spring, the range’s lower slopes explode with color when wild Mexican Gold Poppies carpet the rugged desert terrain. Castner Range provides the greatest concentration of natural springs in the Franklin Mountains, which themselves are geologically complex and visually striking. Floods from the summer storms are naturally channeled by Castner’s canyons and alluvial fans. Unique plant and animal habitats characterize Castner Rang along with spectacular scenery and rich cultural features.
History: From 1926-1966 this land-named after Brigadier General Joseph Compton Castnerr (1869-1946), whose long career included Fort Bliss (1925)-was used by the Fort for live firing of field and air defense artillery. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) may have accumulated on the surface of the ground or may be buried in the soil, so Castner Range is closed to public entry. The Army in conducting the Military Munitions Response Program to determine the highest and best use for Castner Range.
In 1979 the Texas Legislature created the Franklin Mountains State Park (FMSP), noting that the Park could accept any portions of Castner Range that became available and were cleared off UXO. At California’s Fort ORD National Monument (near Monterey and dedicated in 2012), land un-cleared or un-clearable remains off-limit to the public. Since at least 1979, El Paso community groups have advocated the permanent conservations of Castner Range.
Why you should invest in Castner Range…