Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Making Castner Range a National Monument Would Help Nature-Deprived Communities, CAP Analysis Finds
Press Release

RELEASE: Making Castner Range a National Monument Would Help Nature-Deprived Communities, CAP Analysis Finds

Washington, D.C. — A new analysis commissioned by the Hispanic Access Foundation and the Center for American Progress shows how designating Castner Range in El Paso, Texas, as a national monument would offer access to nature-deprived communities nearby.

The authors examined the extent to which the primarily Latino and low-income communities surrounding the proposed Castner Range National Monument experience nature loss. The analysis found that 9 in 10 Latinos and almost 95 percent of low-income communities in the area surrounding the proposed monument are nature deprived – meaning that they are experiencing nature loss at higher rates than the national average.

The analysis finds that permanently protecting the area would help close the nature gap. It urges President Joe Biden to use the Antiquities Act to designate Castner Range as a national monument to bolster community conservation efforts, expand access to nature, and add to the number of national monuments that tell the diverse story of the American people.

“This is just one example of a traditionally underserved community passionately voicing its right to access nature,” said Sam Zeno, a research assistant for Conservation Policy at CAP and co-author of the analysis. “Designating Castner Range as a national monument would help close the nature gap and signal a new federal commitment to equitable land conservation.”

“One of the goals of the Biden administration’s America the Beautiful initiative is to increase access to nature for underserved communities,” said Shanna Edberg, director of conservation programs at the Hispanic Access Foundation. “This report clearly shows how deep the nature gap is in El Paso – and how protecting Castner Range as a national monument would be a strong step toward addressing it.”

Among the other findings:

  • Eighty-five percent of people of color around Castner Range are nature deprived, but almost no white communities in the area are nature deprived.
  • American Indian and Alaska Native populations in the area are over 40 percent more likely to be nature deprived than elsewhere in the U.S.
  • In the Castner Range area, approximately 80 percent of families in poverty with children experience high degrees of nature deprivation.

Read the report: “Making Castner Range a National Monument Would Help Nature-Deprived Communities,” by Sam Zeno, Shanna Edberg, and Brenda Gallegos

For more information, or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.