February 15, 2018
LAS CRUCES: The New Mexico Wildlife Federation along with Chaves and Eddy County Sportsmen and Women have called an emergency meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at Los Cerritos Restaurant in Roswell to discuss several new road closure applications that threaten to limit or shut off access to public land.
Area sportsmen and women are outraged at three new proposals by private property owners that seek to close critical access to thousands of acres of public land that should be accessible to all New Mexicans.
The three new road closure applications come on the heels of last year’s closure of a taxpayer-owned, county-maintained public stretch of Felix Canyon Road that was used for the public’s primary access to Game Unit 32. The road was closed despite public outcry from sportsmen and women and against the recommendations of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Interior.
“This is a very clever way for a group of special interests to privatize our public lands and wildlife here in Chaves County,” said Gabe Vasquez, the southern New Mexico coordinator for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “These private property owners and their friends think they’ve found a winning formula to lock us out of our own public lands, and worse yet, to lock us out of our traditions and the future opportunities of our children and their families. We’re not going to let this happen. Not again.”
Of the nine new road vacation applications submitted before the Chaves County Road Department for consideration before the February deadline, three of these applications threaten access to several hamper access to public land, including:
- A road closure application for a five-mile section of Picacho Road submitted by Helen Henderson
- A road closure application for a 4.7-mile section of Picacho Road submitted by H.C. “Hot Shot” Hendricks
- A road closure application for a 2-mile section of County Road 42 submitted by Steven Ellyson
At Monday’s meeting, area sportsmen and women will discuss these road closure applications and announce a potential solution to regain access to last year’s Felix Canyon Rd. closure. The press and all interested parties are invited to attend.