In spite of the challenges posed by Covid-19 this year, the New Mexico Chapter of BHA had quite a successful year in 2021, with a mix of conservation events, policy challenges and public lands stewardship.
Here is a breakdown of our Top 10 Accomplishments of the Year! Thanks to all those who took time out of their busy lives to fight for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.
1) In January we rounded up our first corporate sponsors – Taos Fly Shop and Hotel Luna Mystica – who graciously donated a guided fly-fishing trip and lodging for BHA’s nationwide Winter Extravaganza fundraising auction. The auction raised a good chunk of change for future conservation projects and policy initiatives. Hats off to both businesses for stepping up for public lands!
2) We held several cleanups in March, including one on the Jemez River and another working with the Santa Fe Chapter of Ducks Unlimited on the Rio Grande near Peña Blanca.
3) In April we finally got to the Kiowa National Grasslands – a year late due to Covid – and provided the muscle to modify almost 30 miles of fenceline for the benefit of pronghorn migration and survival. Working with the U.S. Forest Service, NMDGF and more than 30 volunteers, we made a difference. Thanks to USFS, particularly biologist Kristen Warren, plus the Flowers family for sustenance and Dave Cox for his videography.
4) Drinker projects dominated the summer months. In May we worked with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and BLM to remove the non-functioning Chupadera wildlife drinker and exclosure fencing. That allowed BLM to replace the drinker and build a modern, wildlife friendly exclosure along with longer-lasting drinker. The project was funded by your Habitat Stamp dollars.
5) The following month we contributed cash to a drinker project led by BHA member Norman Gruner in the Black Range. He worked with USFS, RMEF, Mule Deer Foundation and Manny Garcia, owner and operator of Sunspot Solar in Las Cruces, to get water flowing again. Manny generously donated all of the solar equipment and installation labor while the conservation groups contributed funds and manpower.
6) We then helped with the Polvadera Mountain pipe jack fence exclusion project in partnership with the BLM, RMEF and the Socorro Friends of Tanks.
7) And in July we chipped in $1,000 to help install a wildlife drinker in the La Caja area (along the Rio Grande), in partnership with NM Wild Sheep Foundation, Water for Wildlife and BLM.
We wrapped up our work schedule in September with the Public Land Pack Out, and while our bag total didn’t win any national awards, we got an amazing $1,500 donation from Fortis Construction for inspiring sportsmen and women to clean up our public lands.
This year hasn’t been all work, however. We had several Pint Nights, including our popular turkey-calling event before the spring season started and another in August when we gave away a cow elk tag donated by the family of former Game Commissioner and BHA Life Member David Soules. Once again, we hosted the Full Draw Film Tour in Albuquerque, and later in the summer showed a waterfowl hunting film, “2,000 Miles,” at a drive-in in Belen.
We also attended and reported on every commission meeting and participated – virtually – in the state Legislature.
So, all in all it was a great year, and it’s not quite over yet. We’re holding a year-end member get-together on December 10. This year we will have a potluck style dinner where attendees can bring a dish of their choice to show off their cooking and baking skills. We have a limited number of tickets, 50, to be exact, so make sure to secure your spot for this awesome event. Family-friendly event and children are welcome. Wear your best ugly sweater and get ready to have a blast with some of the best people around. RSVP here! https://www.backcountryhunters.org/2021_bha_holiday_party_extravaganza
Thanks for your help and support. BHA is a member-driven organization. If you want to play a more active role in 2022, shoot us a line at [email protected].