December 20, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE – Today at a hastily called meeting of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Commission, the commission voted to implement rules aimed at keeping the public out of streams that should be accessible to them according to our state’s Constitution. It is the opinion of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the Attorney General of the State of New Mexico that the Stream Access Law that this rule upholds is in violation of the New Mexico State Constitution. By implementing this rule and facilitating the implementation of the Stream Access Law, the Game Commission is aiding in violating the state constitution.
Not only was this meeting called with very little notice to the public, but no public comment was taken at the meeting. Public comments were collected online and through the mail until the night before, leaving one to question if the public’s comments were actually taken into account when passing the rule today.
“The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is disappointed the commission took this tactic in passing a rule related to stream access,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation Deputy Director Todd Leahy. “By implementing a rule allowing private landowners the opportunity to put up signs keeping people out of the streams that rightfully belong to all New Mexicans, we are entering a new era of the fight for public access to the outdoors.”
The opinion of Attorney General Balderas is only the latest to confirm that the waters of New Mexico are public. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation looks forward to working with all interested stakeholders in upholding the New Mexico State Constitution.