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More Development Planned for the Eastern Slopes of the Franklin Mountains!


El Paso, Texas (August 2, 2015). Residents in northeast El Paso are alarmed at the possibility of a swath of new houses being built on the eastern side of the Franklin Mountains. According to the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition (FMWC) the heirs to Dick Knapp are working on development plans for the hundreds of acres that they own, east of the Franklin Mountains State Park, between McKelligon Canyon and Hondo Pass. Neighbors have seen bulldozers and graders “improving” roads so that surveyors will have access. Land owners are carefully abiding by all regulations and are within their rights.

FMWC is alerting El Pasoans this week that development of pristine mountain sides is NOT inevitable. Creation of Franklin Mountains State Park (FMSP) in 1979 and preservation of Kern View Estates II this past April of demonstrate that citizen action can result in critical land conservation.

To speak out against increased development in the higher elevations of the mountains residents are encouraged to organize and to inform City officials of their desire to protect the land around the mountains in its natural state. This week people concerned about the potential development are encouraged to attend and speak out at the Open Space Advisory Board meeting during the “Call to the Public” on Wednesday, August 5th at 3pm in the City # Building at 801 Texas Avenue. The meeting will be held in the basement in the Thorman Conference Room.


Sign the online petition here to help protect public lands surrounding Franklin Mountains State Park


Sign the online petition here, then easily share it with family and friends by email, on facebook etc.


You can also print out and get signatures.
We the People Petition
Map of El Paso Public Lands that can be preserved 
Petition Instructions and Just the Facts

Texas Legislature Appropriates $3.5 Million

for New Franklin Mountains State Park Headquarters and Visitor Center


El Paso, Texas (June 18, 2015) The Franklin Mountains State Park announced today that $3.5 million has been appropriated by the 84th Legislative Session to construct a new headquarters and visitor center for the sprawling El Paso park. The new facilities, estimated to encompass 7,000 sq. ft., will be built on Transmountain Road near the Museum of Archaeology and the Border Patrol Museum on El Paso’s Northeast Side.

The preservation of the Franklin Mountains and development of a state park are issues that have generated intense interest over the years and have been the focus of countless hours of hard work by many organizations and individuals, including retired UTEP Linguistics professor Richard Teschner, who played a pivotal role in ensuring that the state park receive accommodations worthy of the largest urban wilderness park in the United States.

“The State Park is gorgeous and a jewel to be celebrated, but for too many years it’s made do with a substandard 500-sq.-ft. headquarters built in 1937, lacking public facilities and located way up McKelligon Canyon Road. The building has been grossly inadequate for a 26,600-acre mountain-range park within the boundaries of the 4th largest city in Texas,” says Teschner.



Closed Castner Range Update


(June 26, 2015) Fort Bliss is providing this update on the work being conduced under the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) at the Closed Castner Range, to keep stakeholders and the general public informed of the progress of the Remedial Investigation (RI). The newsletter will be produced periodically and sent via U.S. Mail to stakeholders and interested members of the public. If you prefer email or if do not wish to be mailed, please send your responses to the Closed Castner Range email address: usarmy.bliss.closed.castner.range@ mail.mil.

On May 13, 2015 the Public Meeting for the Closed Castner Range took place. The meeting was held at Chapin High School. In attendance were members of the general public, U.S. Army Environmental Command, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, also in attendance were Mr. Carl L. Robinson, District 4 representative and Ms. Megan Obregon from Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s office. The topics focused on the field work that is planned for the Remedial Investigation (RI), including a review of the MMRP process, RI objectives, safety considerations, and project schedule. Another public meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 2015. The minutes of the public meeting and other Castner Range information can be found at https://www.bliss.army.mil/DPW/Environmental/ EISDocuments2.html (#36). 

The commencement of the field work discussed in the public meeting is pending the Explosive Site Plan (ESP). The ESP is now expected to be finalized by the end August 2015. Field mobilization is expected to take place in October after the ESP is approved. 

Meet Mountain Man Jim Tolbert

Petition to keep Franklin Mountains foothills undeveloped gains traction: Watch Jim tell it like it is...
KTSM TV Interview


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Just the Facts:
Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, Texas

Franklin Mountains State Park is considered an urban wilderness state park, the largest park of its kind in the continental United States.

-150+ recorded species of birds.
-700+ species of plants.
-Over 90 species of lichen.
-32 species of mammals.
-40 species of amphibians and reptiles. 

Franklin Mountains State Park website (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/franklin-mountains)

New Castner 
Range Video

The Frontera Land Alliance, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition have teamed up using grant funds to produce a video by Jackson Pope to assist in conserving Castner Range. All involved hope to preserve the natural areas, wildlife corridors and natural springs that occur on Castner Range, Fort Bliss.

Watch the 9 1/2 minute video in English.

Watch the 9 1/2 minute video in Spanish


We the people want preserved, in its natural state and in perpetuity all of the undeveloped land...


The Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition has launched a new "We the People" petition for everyone to sign calling upon our leaders to work together in saving what remains of the lower elevations of the Franklin Mountains in El Paso. Everyone can be part of this effort by signing a hard copy / and or going online and signing a change.org petition. All the details can be found on the FMWC website at www.franklinmountains.org.

FMWC Secretary Judy Ackerman said “It is such an inspiration to see how many people care about our Franklin Mountains and want to conserve them! People of all ages, including visitors from around the globe, look at our beautiful mountains and it lifts their spirits. We need to protect our natural wonders and scenic vistas.”

The committee organizing the new petition effort encourages everyone to help send a message to our community by printing out a petition today and collecting signatures between now and May 1. The petition reads as follows: "We the people want preserved, in its natural state and in perpetuity, all of the undeveloped land owned by the City of El Paso on the western side of the Franklin Mountains that is north of Transmountain Road, east of the EPNG Pipeline Road and south of the New Mexico/El Paso boundary and on the eastern side of the Franklin Mountains that is north of Transmountain, west of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and south of the New Mexico/El Paso boundary."

Committee member Jim Tolbert said “preserving land means conserving our scarcest resource - water.” We have more land than water. Signing this petition means that we are guaranteeing a good life not just for our grandchildren but for our grandchildren's grandchildren. Our children and generations to come are far more important. 

Tolbert points out “reducing sprawl means lower property taxes.” Current sprawl projects in El Paso means that existing homes are paying for the uncompensated costs of sprawl which are at least $10,000 per house, maybe considerably more, without even considering the costs of increased water needs. Sprawl also means additional services such as police and fire. It means more streets and the ongoing maintenance of those streets. 

Other benefits of preserving public lands also means lands that can be enjoyed for hiking, biking, walking and more healthful outdoor activities, important to improving the quality of life, decreasing obesity and diabetes which have become epidemic here in El Paso.

Petition gathers also point out that preservation means millions of dollars annually for El Paso from eco-tourism. More people will come to El Paso to enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and other recreational activities in our mountains and the surrounding region.

To download and print copies go to franklinmountains.org. For more information contact Jim Tolbert by email at diegotolbert@gmail.com or call 915-525-7364. 

Download and print the documents below and get started today. For more information contact Jim Tolbert by email at diegotolbert@gmail.com or call 915-525-7364.


Map of El Paso Public Lands that can be preserved
We the People Petition
Petition Instructions and Just the Facts








Banner images copyright Laurence Parent Photography, Inc.


Updated: September 9, 2015

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10 reasons
why protecting wildlife corridors surrounding the Franklin Mountains is so important to protecting Franklin Mountains State Park

1. The lowland desert areas surrounding Franklin Mountains State Park provide habitat for many species of animals and plants.   To survive in this part of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion many species require these lower elevations for food and protection.  Other species require habitat at both low and high elevations.

2. As urban sprawl creeps closer to the boundaries of the park the area's nesting birds will be threatened by domestic cats that many people in El Paso allow to roam freely in their neighborhoods.

3. The new TX-Dot road project combined with planned developments along the  three mile corridor on the the west side of Trans Mountain Road will destroy the last wild scenic view in this part of the city important to the quality of life for thousands of El Pasoans currently enjoying the area.

4. The loss of the last wild scenic view in West El Paso will hurt the city's ability to expand ecotourism important to the entire region.

5. Campers visiting the Tom Mays section of Franklin Mountains State Park plus those who will someday be able to camp out on backcountry trails will  be affected by both light and noise pollution associated with developments included in the Northwest Master Plan.

6. Threatened Texas horned lizards living in the lowland areas of the Franklin Mountains will loose critical habitat which could eventually lead to extinction of the species in this part of Texas.

7. Golden eagles and other raptors in the Franklin Mountains will lose important lowland hunting and nesting areas.

8.  Mule deer will not have as many lowland areas to use as part of their overall range important to seasonal food production and protection from extreme temperatures during winter snow storms.

9. Javelina or collared peccaries appear to be expanding their range in this area and developments associated with the Northwest Master Plan will hurt their chances of finding the habitat they need to successfully establish themselves in this part of El Paso.

10.  The potential for any future efforts to restore extirpated species like desert bighorn and Mexican wolves to this part of the Franklin Mountains will be impaired by urban sprawl developments.




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