Monuments to Main Street takes over Klein Park

Monuments to Main Street takes over Klein Park

LAS CRUCES – A giant New Mexican flag hung across the backstop at Klein Park Saturday, while Phat Soul played some funky tunes on stage. Food trucks, art vendors and information booths lined the outside of the park. A man riding an elongated low-rider bike with lit wheel spokes rolled past a playground covered from swings to slides with children.

The lively festivities were an effort to kick off Monuments to Main Street — a collection of several events, workshops, classes, hikes, and other activities taking place this month in Las Cruces and surrounding areas. The M2M initiative, as the name suggests, recognizes the monuments in the area, including Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, Prehistoric Trackways National Monument and White Sands National Monument. A “monumental” bike ride, a $90 plane tour, free guided hikes and youth archery lessons are among the events.

Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, in partnership with New Mexico Wildlife and the city of Las Cruces, has helped to organize Monuments to Main Street. FOMDP Executive Director Patrick Nolan finds value in the variety the events offered.

“People like to find these creative ways to celebrate the monuments and all of these different events have different outlets for folks, whether you’re a mountain biker, an artist, a hiker, we’ll find different ways to get you out there,” he said.

Gabi Peña got to learn the art of the bow and arrow by participating in the M2M youth archery lessons.

“This was my first time to the archery range and it was awesome,” Peña said. “The weather was perfect. I made some new friends and the mountains looked beautiful. I can’t wait to go back out there with my dad and friends.”

More: Prehistoric Trackways, Rustler Trail among upcoming M2M hikes

Jan Brydon this month hiked Achenbach Canyon and Soledad Canyon.

Brydon said she had hiked both areas in the past, but appreciated learning from a guide on the M2M hikes.

“This time the hike through Achenbach had a soil scientist who explained effects of erosion and how water percolates in the canyon,” Brydon said.

Nolan said he’s attending most of the Monuments to Main Street events and continues to learn about the monuments, including on the Achenbach hike.

“I learned about grasses in the area. It’s one of those things you don’t think about, because you know to most people it’s just grass, but the way it was presented made it really interesting in a way you wouldn’t think it could be,” he said.

Ron Fitzherbert, vice president for the Foundation of Las Cruces Museums, said he appreciates the way M2M celebrates the city in addition to the monuments.

“Historically this is the third stop on the way through New Mexico, when headed to Central and South America,” Fitzherbert said. “It’s good to recognize the history of the area.”

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