EL PASO, Texas -- President Biden is expected to name Castner Range a National Monument at the White House Conservation in Action Summit today in Washington D.C.
This comes after 52 years of work from lawmakers, staff and volunteers that worked toward the designation.
The effort will now protect 7,081 acres of the Franklin Mountains. Castner Range is one of El Paso's most prolific and intact Chihuahuan Desert landscapes.
With the Castner Range National Monument designation, it would make it the third national monument is the state of Texas. Alibates Flint Quarries in Amarillo was the first designated by Congress in 1965. The second was the Waco Mammoth National Monument, which was designated in 2015.
President Biden announced in 2021 his, "America the Beautiful Plan," whose goal it was to protect at least 30% of U.S. land and waters by 2030.
Currently, Castner Range is not open to the public as it is the property of the Department of Defense. It served as a shooting range for Fort Bliss from 1926 through 1966. Much of the area still has unexploded munitions and mortar shells underneath.
Undersecretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo, also an El Paso native, said that federal efforts to locate and remove munitions from Castner Range will continue.