- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is set to make another visit to New Mexico.

She’ll be in Las Cruces on Friday to celebrate the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. President Barack Obama proclaimed the area protected during a ceremony Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Environmentalists, sportsmen and tourism officials had been pushing for protections for the rugged desert landscape for a decade. Legislation that would have established the monument along with several wilderness areas repeatedly stalled in Congress.

New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, say they will continue to push legislation that would set aside the wilderness areas.

They say their proposal would also provide for a law enforcement buffer near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border security has been a major focus of monument critics.

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