New Mexico BHA has been working to build on the already-overwhelming breadth of support among sportsmen who agree that the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area should be permanently protected as wilderness. As part of this ongoing effort NM BHA Co-Chair, Oscar Simpson attended the NM Gun Collectors Association gun show in Albuquerque, June 1-2 and received over 375 signatures of support for the letter below.
To: Senators: Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and
Representatives: Ben Ray Lujan, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pearce
Subject: Support for the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act
As a sportsman, I support the “Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act” (Senate Bill S. 776 & House Bill H.R. 1683). I support this legislation because:
1) It would permanently protect for hunters and angles, 45,000 acres of quality fish and wildlife habitat in the Carson National forest – which has a wide variety and abundant populations of game (big horn sheep, elk, mule deer, black bear, turkey and grouse) and good trout fishing. This legislation would also ensure that sportsmen traditions & historic ways of life will be preserved for present and future generations of sportsmen & other recreational users.
2) This legislation would protect several critical watersheds in the Columbine area – which are vital for fish & wildlife habitat and clean water for local farmers, ranchers and communities downstream of the Columbine area.
3) A large diverse coalition of local elected officals, community leaders, businesses, conservation & sportsmen organizations, ranchers & farmers and individuals want the Columbine Hondo area protected because they realize the ecomomic value it could add to the local tourism industry.
In 1980, Columbine was designated as a wilderness study area (WSA) to protect its wilderness values, wildlife habitat and watershed. Thirty plus years have passed – I feel it is time to permanently protect Columbine either through Congressional legislation.