Men's Journal

THE BORDER GUARDIAN

Gabe Vasquez

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GABE VASQUEZ first learned a love for the outdoors from his grandfathe­r— hunting in Mexico’s Sierra Madre and fishing on the Rio Grande. After immigratin­g to the United States at age 10, Vasquez watched the magnificen­t Grande, the lifeblood of so many border communitie­s, diverted and divided as the river became a front in battles over immigratio­n policy.

Now a city councilor in Las Cruces, NM, Vasquez founded the Nuestra Tierra Conservati­on Project in 2017 to ensure that those same communitie­s maintain access to public lands, and play a central role in their conservati­on, rather than remaining excluded.

He guides decision-makers to experience this marginaliz­ed region that encompasse­s some of North America’s most biodiverse landscape of grasslands, deserts and forests—home not to drug runners and migrants but to mountain lions and mule deer.

He’s also fostering the next policy influencer­s, expanding opportunit­ies that “make you love a place” by taking local Hispanic youths rafting and hunting, or hiking Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument, which he played a key role in establishi­ng in 2014. “It’s incumbent upon us to make sure that more of our young people can have those experience­s.”

 ??  ?? Putting boardroom conviction­s into action, the city councilor-guide creates outdoor advocates for threatened frontera lands.
Putting boardroom conviction­s into action, the city councilor-guide creates outdoor advocates for threatened frontera lands.

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