Frontera Land Alliance

Land-Use Plan for Castner Range Available for Public Comment

A draft version of a Castner Range Land-Use Plan has been made available for public comment by the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition and The Frontera Land Alliance, two El Paso-area conservation organizations. Everyone interested in the future of Castner can review the Plan at www.FronteraLand.Alliance.org (link in upper right hand corner of home page). As you drive up into the mountains on Transmountain Road from Northeast El Paso, you may not realize you are driving through territory that still belongs to Fort Bliss. This 7,081-acre property, known as “Castner Range,” is not open to the public because there may be unexploded ordnance on the land. Fort Bliss is undergoing a process of determining the best use of this land. For the last several years, members of the boards of The Frontera Land Alliance and the Franklin Mountains Wilderness coalition have been collaborating (as the “4C’s”—the Castner Conservation Conveyance Committee) with Fort Bliss to propose options for Castner Range’s acres. The 4C’s goal is to preserve, in perpetuity, the natural areas, wildlife corridors and natural springs that are present on Castner Range. After considerable study and work, the 4C’s have drafted a Land Use Plan that will be turned over to Fort Bliss to aid the Department of Defense in determining the future use of the Range, as soon as results from the survey are in. The survey asks this: How would YOU like to see this land used (once it’s declared safe for using)? Do you want the land to be closed to the public so you can enjoy the natural beauty from a distance with no disturbance? Do you want hiking, biking and horse trails on the land? Maybe you prefer limited recreational development, once the land is transferred to the Franklin Mountains State Park? Or would you prefer full-scale development such as home, businesses, factories and office complexes? Perhaps you have another idea, one not considered yet, for the conservation of Castner Range. All survey responses will be incorporated into the Plan, which will then be revised. “The Plan is open for commentary through September 15, 2013,” says Janaé Reneaud Field, Executive Director of The Frontera Land Alliance and a member of the 4C’s collaboration.

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