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2012 Tularosa Basin Conference Mission Statement
Mission Statement: The Tularosa Basin Conference brings together researchers and the public to discuss subjects of a common theme and share and advance knowledge of the Tularosa Basin through public presentations and published volumes. The diverse nature of those who contribute enables the Tularosa Basin Conference to explore topics of interest from broad perspectives, while engaging members of academia, preservationists, consultants, and the interested and supportive public.
Vision: By the turn of the 20th century, residents of and visitors to the Tularosa Basin recognized the varied and valuable natural and cultural resources found here. The Basin has a complex history of setting these resources aside for public use and protection. Examples most often recognized are White Sands National Monument and the Lincoln National Forest, but include other unique and historically important places.
The Lincoln National Forest was established as the Lincoln Forest Reserve in 1902, and later included the Sacramento National Forest and Guadalupe National Forest. Covering 1,103,441 acres, the Forest was establish to protect water quality and provide recreation. The Lincoln offers a diverse set of landscapes and scenic beauty, with abundant wildlife, incredible vistas, and diverse flora. The Sacramento Mountains’ escarpments also provide those with geological interest an opportunity to examine Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, and Permian deposits up close.
President Herbert Hoover established White Sands National Monument on January 18, 1933, issuing a proclamation designating 142,987 acres of the White Sands dune fields as a National Park Service facility. “In recognition of the sands’ distinctiveness and multifaceted appeal,” Hoover wrote that the NPS should manage the unit not only for the “generic purpose of preservation, but also for its additional features of scenic, scientific, and educational interest.” The Civilian Works Administration (CWA) began work in 1933 on access roads, parking, and restrooms, finishing the visitor center in 1937. White Sands National Monument was established not only through the diligent efforts of local boosters such as Thomas Charles, but also as part of the New Deal relief programs, which found many outlets for surplus labor in the National Park Service.
The Bureau of Land Management recognized the importance of protecting the unique rock art found at the Three Rivers Petroglyph site, sponsoring recording and research among the site’s 21,000 plus rock art elements. Set against the imposing Sierra Blanca range, the Three Rivers Petroglyph site occupies a boulder outcrop set among the northern Chihuahuan Desert, adjacent to one of a few live streams found in the Tularosa Basin. Also found at the 50-acre preserve are habitation sites, including pueblos and pit houses, perhaps the residences of the artisans who produced the petroglyphs. Glyphs are represented by one of the widest arrays of zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, geometric, and iconic elements found in the Southwest and present influence from Central Mexico.
The Valley of Fires Recreation Area is located at the northern end of the Tularosa Basin within the Malpais Lava Flow, a result of the eruption of Little Black Peak, nearly 5000 years ago. The molten lava flow spread into the Tularosa Basin, traveling 44 miles and covering an area 4 to 6 miles in width. Hiking trails provide access through this unusual landscape, while enabling visitors close views of the cooled rock formations and the micro-habitats that have come to adopt this harsh and inhospitable setting.
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park was created to honor one of New Mexico’s colorful and controversial characters, an individual whose actions resulted in many of the Tularosa Basin’s achievements, yet yielded a shroud of conspiracy involving the disappearance of Albert Fountain and his son, Henry. Oliver Milton Lee (1865-1941) began ranching along the east side of the Basin and in the southern Sacramento Mountains. He picked Dog Canyon for his home, supplied by a year-round spring. At first glance, it appears to be nothing more than a harsh, impassible land. A closer look provides a number of surprises, an oasis to travelers, and an access point into the rugged Sacramentos. The park offers exhibits within the restored 19th century ranch house, hiking trails, and diverse Chihuahuan Desert vegetation.
Otero Mesa occupies much attention among special interest groups. Opposition has been posed against gas and oil developement with an effort placed upon preservation of a pristine environment worthy of National monument Status.
The Tularosa Basin Conference has been organized with a desire to generate and renew interests in the area’s rich natural and cultural resources by providing a venue through which knowledgeable individuals can share with and enlighten the public. Individuals, such as Eugene Manlove Rhodes, Thomas Charles, Albert Fall, and others, promoted the protection of the natural resources of the area through inspirational writings, public lobbying, and political arm twisting, recognizing that southern New Mexico was in fact the “Land of Enchantment.” Hanging onto the coat tails and apron strings of the region’s pioneers, our desire is to continue promoting the area’s resources while applying Hoover’s proclamation for the White Sands to the whole of the area, for its “scenic, scientific, and educational interests.” Join us in Tularosa to learn of the region’s treasures, hidden secrets, natural wonders, and rich heritage! Proceeds from this conference are planned to help support the renovation work on the Red Brick Building, an on-going restoration project in Tularosa and the Tularosa village Historic society's support of the new village museum.
Learn it, live it; get engaged in your heritage resources