Provision to permanently preserve Castner Range becomes law

Castner Range in Northeast El Paso (Credit: KFOX14)

A provision to permanently protect Castner Range became law Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke tweeted Tuesday that the 7,000 acres in the Franklin Mountains will be permanently preserved.

O’Rourke has been a proponent of keeping the former U.S. artillery range off-limits to the public and future development. He put a provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act last month hoping it would become a law.

The range in Northeast El Paso includes historic sites that date back as far as 10,000 years, along with unique vegetation, wildlife and underground aquifers.

In recent years, there's been a strong community-wide effort to make the area a national monument.

The hope was that former President Barack Obama would make Castner Range a national monument before the end of his presidency, but in a decision made regarding five national locations, Castner Range was not among them.

More than 35,000 people signed letters to Obama asking him to preserve that land.