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Poppies in northeast El Paso on the Castner Range. Photo by Rick LoBello.

9th Annual Poppies Fest 2015 planned for Saturday, April 4 at the Museum of Archaeology


If you love spring time in the Franklin Mountains and enjoy gathering with others who appreciate the wonders of the natural world, then the Annual Poppies Fest in Northeast El Paso is for you! This year’s free community event celebrating El Paso’s annual bloom of Mexican poppies promises to be one of the best in years said event coordinator Debbie Cuilty. The Farmer’s Almanac predicted above normal rainfall this past winter which has been the case in El Paso and is great news for desert flowers.

Cuilty is chairing the event this year which was first sponsored and organized by the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition and the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition in 2007. From 10:00 am - 4:00 pm thousands of people are expected to come and see the beautiful poppies and learn about the Castner Range and its significance to El Pasoans. Since the poppies only grow on the east side of the mountain, the Poppy Fest is held at the Museum of Archaeology, where they are more available for the public to see. The event also allows people to see other beautiful plants and wildlife living in our area. Exhibitors will be available to help El Pasoans discover the natural wonders surrounding El Paso.

Parking for the Poppies Fest will be at El Paso Community College (EPCC) at no charge and shuttle buses will be running from10:00 am - 4:00 pm. No parking will be allowed at the museum.

Poppies Fest activities will include a child activity center provided by the Girl Scouts,

a live wolf from the Wolf Sanctuary near Albuquerque area and a raptor (Eagle or Hawk) from the El Paso Zoo (12pm to 12:30pm). Live entertainment will include the El Paso Youth Symphony and the Elecktrick rock Orchestra (Band for Peace Tour). The dance group Danza La Palma will return for another exciting performance and free tours of the area will be scheduled at various times throughout the day.

The Museum of Archaeology will be open throughout the day featuring 14,000 years of prehistory in the El Paso area, the greater Southwest, and northern Mexico. You’ll see dioramas and exhibits of American Indian lives and their material culture from the Paleoindian hunters of the Ice Age to their modern Indian descendants. The video Frontera will be playing in the museum starting at 11:00.

Tours of the area will be set up at various times around the museum. Art vendors will offer for sale a wide variety of beautiful crafts.

Food vendors will be on hand to provide a variety of beverages and hot food. Exhibitors will be sharing their wealth of information on nature in reference to El Paso and New Mexico area.

Schedule of activities:
11:00 Frontera Video - inside the museum
12:30 El Paso Zoo Raptor Presentation
2:00 El Paso Youth Symphony
3:00 Danza La Palma

City of El Paso (MCAD) museums & Cultural Affairs Department
El Paso Community College
El Paso Times
El Paso Museum of Archaeology
Franklin Mountain Wilderness Coalition
Apache Barricade & Signs
El Paso Zoo
The Wolf Lady
Texas Parks & Wildlife
Northeast Rotary
West Valley Fire Department
El Paso Electric Company

For more information contact Debbie Cuilty, Event Coordinator - 915-490-4697


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





2015 Franklin Mountains Poppies Fest planned for April 4


The El Paso Museum of Archeology, along with the Franklin Mountains State Park and the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition holds its annual Franklin Mountains Poppies Celebration on Castner Range each spring. This year the event is planned for Saturday, April 4. In addition to basking in the blaze of color these beautiful flowers provide, make sure to check out the wildlife demonstrations and nature talks, as well as the educational exhibits during this free event. Watch here and on facebook for more details and times.





Banner images copyright Laurence Parent Photography, Inc.


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


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Updated March 23, 2015

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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


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