Photo from top of Castner Range

Janae’ Reneaud Field
Frontera Land Alliance

On December 16, Congressman Beto O’Rourke introduced the Castner Range National Monument Act [ HR 4268 ].

This bill would protect Castner Range in perpetuity by making it a national monument. Castner Range is a 7,081-acre mountain range surrounded by the Franklin Mountains State Park in Northeast El Paso, and the Sierra Club El Paso Group is part of a coalition working to protect.


Castner Range occupies 11 square miles on the eastern slopes of the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, Texas. The range is in nearly pristine condition today, thanks to the stewardship of the U.S. Army that owns the land, and to the potential for unexploded ordnance. Commercial development of Castner is a constant threat to this natural treasure.

Castner Range treasures

In the spring, the range’s lower slopes explode with color when wild Mexican gold poppies carpet the rugged desert terrain. Castner Range provides the greatest concentration of natural springs in the Franklin Mountains, which themselves are geologically complex and visually striking. Floods from summer storms are naturally channeled by Castner’s canyons and alluvial fans. Unique plant and animal habitats characterize Castner Range, along with spectacular scenery and rich cultural features.


From 1926 until 1966, this land was used by Fort Bliss for field and air-defense artillery. Unexploded ordnance may have accumulated on the surface of the ground or be buried in the soil, and that is why Castner Range is closed to public entry. The Army is conducting the Military Munitions Response Program to determine the highest and best use for Castner Range.

In 1979 the state of Texas created the Franklin Mountains State Park and stated that the park could accept any portions of Castner Range that became available and were cleared of ordnance. Since at least 1979, community groups have advocated the permanent conservation of the property.

Why you should invest in Castner Range

Investing in the conservation of Castner Range is also an investment in clean water, air and energy, all natural resources we rely on for our quality of life. Conserving Castner Range will preserve the fragile lands at the urban fringe around the FMSP. The preservation of these lands will safeguard a network of natural areas that enhance our community’s unique character, culture and sense of place.

The goal is to establish Castner Range as a national monument so it will be protected in perpetuity.

Act now

Make Castner Range a National Monument! To submit a letter of support and for questions, contact: The Frontera Land Alliance, 3800 N. Mesa St., Suite A2-258. El Paso, Texas, 79902. E-mail: Janae@Fronteralandalliance.org. Phone: 915-3551-8352, or go to fronteralandalliance.org.

Photo by Samat Jain

Bill would protect Castner Range