WASHINGTON – Senate legislation that would establish two wilderness areas on federal lands in New Mexico would secure critical fish and game habitat and benefit sportsmen and the region’s economy, said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, which has been engaged in a decade-long effort to conserve the fish- and wildlife-rich landscapes.
The Cerros del Norte Conservation Act (S. 1240), introduced by U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall earlier this month, was deliberated this afternoon at a hearing convened by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining. The bill would designate the Cerro del Yuta Wilderness and Rio San Antonio Wilderness within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico.
The national monument encompasses backcountry lands and waters inhabited by a diversity of wildlife, including elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. Sportsmen are quick to point to the importance of the proposed wilderness areas as a migratory corridor for wildlife and the overall role played by these public lands in sustaining the outdoors-based economy central to the fiscal health of New Mexico and the Rocky Mountain West.
Public lands are the fabric that binds America together, part of our shared national heritage. Hunters and anglers understand this fact better than most, as our federally owned lands and waters, including national forests, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges and other public places, provide irreplaceable opportunities for hunting and fishing, as well as innumerable other outdoor activities.
Consequently, American sportsmen were dismayed by the U.S. Senate’s recent vote (51-49) in favor of an amendment that would support and fund state efforts to take possession of federal public lands. This is part of an organized movement to sell off and limit access to our public lands and waters. As users – and owners – of these lands, we must join together and fight back against this terrible idea.
Thankfully, we have fellow public lands sportsmen like Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico on our side. Sen. Heinrich voted against the amendment to get rid of our federal public lands and also introduced an amendment of his own that would have prevented Congress from selling these lands as a deficit-reduction strategy.
Please join us in thanking Sen. Heinrich for standing up for the public hunting and fishing access we depend on by actively opposing congressional efforts to sell your public lands.
Thank Sen. Heinrich by email here or by calling 202-224-5521.
Help us speak-up for the wild public lands and waters you depend on by joining BHA today!
September 20, 2013
To: New Mexico Game & Fish Commission
From: New Mexico Chapter, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Issue: Regulating Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (Drones) in Hunting
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (commonly called “drones”) are increasingly important in the military and have high potential to contribute to the fields of wildlife biology, search-and-rescue, agriculture and many other applications. However, in private hands there is small but growing interest in using these highly sophisticated remote-controlled aircraft to scout, monitor and stalk big game. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers believes this technology represents a widespread opportunity for abuse, and if not regulated early poses a significant threat to fair chase hunting and fair distribution of hunting opportunity.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
On behalf of the undersigned organizations representing thousands of New Mexican sportsmen and women, we are writing to express our strong support for the recent Gila National Forest Travel Management Plan process.
We strongly support the process the U.S. Forest Service undertook to evaluate the resources, consider public input and collaboratively determine a path forward. Our community acknowledges that federal lands are held in trust by all Americans and therefore our proximity to the Gila bestows no special privilege or entitlement, only a heightened sense of stewardship. As generational caretakers, however, we feel strongly that these lands should be passed on to subsequent generations in equal – if not better – condition than they currently are.
New Mexico sportsmen are optimistic that President Obama will do the same for New Mexico that he did today in California – use his authority to designate a new national monument.
At a White House ceremony today, the president made good on his State of the Union vow to protect more public land by designating Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument. The new monument includes 1,600 acres on the northern California coastline, including important habitat for salmon, migratory waterfowl and other species.
New Mexico sportsmen see the California designation as a good sign. “President Obama should be commended for moving forward to protect the Point Arena-Stornetta area, and we hope to see him in Las Cruces soon to announce similar protection for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region,” said John Cornell, president of Dona Ana County Associated Sportsmen. “This proposal has wide local support, but sportsmen in particular want this designation because the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks provides exceptional hunting opportunity just a stone’s throw from Las Cruces.”