KUNM

A Threat To Public Land?

Jan 28, 2015

Cabezon Peak Wilderness Study Area in central New Mexico
Credit Rita Daniels

Outdoor enthusiasts will be rallying at the Roundhouse Thursday, opposing legislation they say poses a threat to millions of acres of public lands in New Mexico.

A Senate memorial would ask the state to consider claiming U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land.  

Joel Gay is with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and says this would be a losing proposition for anyone who uses public land.

“What hunters and anglers are most concerned about” Gay said, “is that in the short term it will reduce our access to public lands, and in the long term, it will eliminate access.”

He says the worst case scenario is that over time the state wouldn’t be able to keep up with the costs of managing the land and would start selling off pristine parcels.

Last year, Arizona and Utah passed similar legislation.

Legally the federal government can cede public land to states.