Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Dale Miller

Second Advisor

Jerry Jacka

Third Advisor

Mark Squillace

Fourth Advisor

Daniel Doak


The recent call for a review of several large National Monuments by President Trump raises questions about the lack of local input in federal land management. Within the land and resource management field, there exists a debate surrounding the effectiveness of community-based collaboration approaches. Using the example of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and a lens of political ecology, I ask three questions: (1) what has been the impact of the OMDP National Monument on the local community; (2) how informed and involved were local stakeholder groups in the original designation and following review process in Doña Ana County; and (3) how could local public involvement in federal land management be improved upon? To answer these questions, I conducted thirty semi-structured interviews that included ranchers, environmentalists, recreationists, scientists, tribal representatives, and local government officials. These interviews revealed unequal local participation in both the designation and review process, various suggestions for the land management planning process, and locally derived proposals for improved community inclusion. Both the designation and the review of the national monument have clearly created tension in the local community of Las Cruces and driven some away from land conservation goals, indicating the importance of seeking balanced inclusion of local community voices throughout the management process if community based collaboration processes are to be utilized.