Editorial: Game board unfairly takes aim at gray wolf protector

By Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board

Playing tit for tat with an endangered species is not only unproductive; it’s petty. Yet that appears to be what the New Mexico Game Commission did last week when it declined to renew a permit that had been in place for 17 years allowing Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in the Gila mountains to assist the federal Mexican gray wolf recovery program.

Ever since the program began in 1998, the Turner ranch has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide pen space for holding endangered wolves being taken from the wild or being reintroduced into the wilderness. Turner raises bison commercially on the 156,000-acre ranch in Sierra County and maintains it as a habitat for endangered and threatened species and for ecotourism.

Currently, there are just over 100 Mexican gray wolves in the wild – a species that once numbered in the thousands.

In the past, the Game and Fish director routinely signed off on the Turner permit. However, in November, the commission adopted a rule requiring commission approval for permits to keep wolves and other carnivores on private land for purposes of recovery or reintroduction. It appears to target the wolf program, and last week’s action is likely to hamper its success.

Mike Phillips, director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, said the commission hasn’t had a problem with the ranch and suggested “they are opposed to the Mexican wolf recovery program as currently constituted.”

That may relate to a new Fish and Wildlife Service rule that greatly expanded the wolves’ range south to the Mexican border and north to Interstate 40 and broadened areas where wolves bred in captivity could be released. It also gave ranchers, who generally oppose the program, more authority to shoot wolves dead if they prey on livestock or domestic animals.

Unlike the Bill Richardson administration, which supported the program, Gov. Susana Martinez has not been friendly to it – even though it has been popular with many New Mexicans. A 2008 survey by Research & Polling found 69 percent either strongly supported or somewhat supported the program. In 2011, the governor-appointed Game Commission suspended state participation.

Landowner rights should not become as endangered as the wolf. Turner should be allowed to use his property as he wishes in cooperation with the federal government, and the commission shouldn’t flex its self-granted power to punish a private landowner to make a statement.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.


Comment period extended to June 26th for possible geothermal leasing in the Santa Fe National Forest

Listen To Staff Attorney, Judy Calman

talk about the dangers of geothermal exploration near our water sheds

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The Santa Fe National Forest recently announced a public scoping period for a Forest Plan amendment which would consider making over 194,000 acres available for leasing for geothermal production immediately to the north and west of Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The area being considered for leasing includes portions of nine Inventoried Roadless Areas and countless water sources, including all the springs visited and loved in the Jemez Ranger District. Inventoried Roadless Areas are places the Forest Service has determined contained wilderness characteristics, but which have not yet been permanently protected as wilderness by Congress.

Not only is the timing wrong with the Santa Fe already going through a Forest Plan revision, it is also inappropriate and out of step with the agency’s mission to consider such a large impact to a forest which is so intensely used by sportsmen, hikers, and backpackers, and which contains wilderness-quality lands.

Honoring the Antiquities Act

By Nick Streit, Toby Basil, and Rafael Gomez, Jr. For The Hill

A sportsman, veteran and tribal council member walk into a national monument.

The sportsman looks around and says, “I bet this is a great place to hunt.”


The veteran looks around and says, “I would love to come here and reconnect with my family and friends.”
The tribal council member looks around and says, “I would love to bring my grandchildren here to see our native lands and waters.”

While we all come from different places with diverse backgrounds, we all have something in common: We want to safeguard our cultural, historical, and natural treasures for future generations to enjoy. As our country celebrates the 109th anniversary of the Antiquities Act this month, we are telling our stories because each of us has a unique and special bond to a national monument created through the Antiquities Act.

But the sad truth is that a time-honored tradition of setting aside public land for its natural or cultural significance is under attack in Congress.

As a business owner and sportsman in northern New Mexico, I – Nick Streit – value national monuments for the quality wildlife habitat they protect and the tourism and recreation dollars that they bring to my community. The Río Grande del Norte National Monument is prime wildlife habitat for bears, cougars, elk, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. But let’s not forget the fish, and big fish, to boot. That is my bread and butter. The waters of the Rio Grande are home to wild brown, rainbow and Rio Grande cutthroat trout – an angler’s paradise. Luckily for me and the thousands of small business owners who depend on protected public lands, national monuments are proven economic drivers for local communities.

Being a veteran, I – Toby Basil – view national monuments as place to find strength and resilience. Places like Pullman National Monument in Chicago connect us to our national past and future. It tells a story about who we are as a nation, how far we’ve come, and where we can go from here. As someone who fought for our country, I feel strongly about what makes America great, and our conservation ethic is a big part of that. Preserving our shared natural and cultural heritage is patriotism and democracy at its best. Our service does not end when we come home, which is why I fought to protect Pullman for future generations to enjoy. I am proud to stand up for the Antiquities Act and fight for places like Pullman in Illinois, Browns Canyon in Colorado, and Fort Monroe in Virginia.

As a tribal council member of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in West Texas, I – Rafael Gomez, Jr. – can tell you that many tribes have a special love for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and are humbled by its natural and cultural gifts. Our new national monument recently marked its one-year anniversary, but its role in Native American history extends well beyond that. This is where our Pueblo ancestors walked, and raised their families, and these sacred lands are critical for our future. That is why our community of sportsmen and ranchers, small business owners and elected officials, and Native Americans and Latino groups came together to make sure that this special place was conserved for future generations.

It does not matter that we are from New Mexico, Texas, or Illinois. The work to safeguard the places we love – be it through legislation or the Antiquities Act — has always started with us, an engaged citizenry.

But recently some members of Congress have introduced proposals that would undermine the Antiquities Act. This goes against what our communities want and worked for, and would silence our voices. National monuments are designated to preserve our public lands so that every American can benefit from their protection. As a nation, we should not be abdicating our responsibility to act in the best interests of our country by allowing state and local officials to veto decisions to protect places that matter to entire cultures and our nation as a whole.

Whether we walk into Río Grande del Norte, Pullman, or Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments, we know these are special places that belong to all us. Likewise, local communities are asking Congress and the President to set aside places like Basin and Range in Nevada, Boulder-White Clouds in Idaho, and the Birthplace of Rivers in West Virginia.

So for us, this really isn’t a joke. The sportsman, veteran and tribal council member would simply end their story by saying, “Thank God these monuments are protected. Let’s leave the Antiquities Act alone.”

Streit owns Taos Fly Shop in Taos and The Reel Life in Santa Fe New Mexico. Basil is a veteran from Springfield, Illinois. Gomez is a Tribal Council member of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in West Texas.


Earth Matters / Aldo Leopold Eco Monitors


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In this week’s edition of Earth Matters, co-producer Nathan Newcomer interviews students from the Aldo Leopold Charter School’s Eco-Monitoring Program.

Based in Silver City, Aldo Leopold Charter School launched their Eco-Monitoring program several years ago to give students the opportunity to participate in gathering data in the U.S. National Forest. They discuss much of the important work that the students do, including collecting data on soils, aquatics, range, forest, and wildlife.

They also discuss the importance of educating youth on the importance of conservation work, and how that translates into healthier communities and thriving local economies.

Tune in to this week’s Earth Matters to learn more.



NM Wild Supporters

NM Wild News

  • Taos News: The truth about the 'Protect the Pecos' campaign (2) +

    Printed in the Taos News, July 28, 2016 PDF of this Article There is an unfortunate impression by some that Read More
  • Diverse coalition praises effort to preserve special lands in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument +

    Legislation introduced by Sens. Udall and Heinrich would protect wilderness within the national monument Las Cruces, New Mexico (June 10, Read More
  • Wild Guide: Passport to New Mexico Wilderness +

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         CONTACT: Tisha Broska, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.         New Mexico Wilderness Alliance releases comprehensive guide to the state’s wildlands Albuquerque, Read More
  • Taos News: Thanks to feds working to preserve wilderness areas +

    Published in the Taos News, May 6, 2016 An amendment added recently to a federal energy bill would create two Read More
  • Conservationists Intervene on Behalf of Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Efforts in New Mexico +

    Download the PDF   June 6, 2016Contacts:Defenders of Wildlife: Catalina Tresky (202) 772-0253, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for Biological Diversity: Michael Robinson (575) Read More
  • Protect the Pecos Photo Contest +

    Protect the Pecos Photo Contest The contest is open May 1st through August 31st. The deadline is 5PM Mountain Time Read More
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