May 15, 2020
The residents of Grant County and other nearby communities will benefit greatly from a Wild and Scenic designation, which would conserve roughly 450 miles of the Gila and San Francisco rivers, and several of their tributaries.
Sens. Udall and Heinrich have announced introduction of legislation to establish the Wild and Scenic designation. As one of the community members who traveled to the nation’s capital this past October to meet with the senators, I can assure you that they have done extensive research on the issues presented, and have taken the time to listen to local input.
Points to note: This act will allow for continued traditional uses, such as grazing and irrigating. This act will not condemn private land. This act will not affect grazing permits, including for currently vacant allotments on federal land. This act will not have any effect on existing valid water rights, interstate water compacts or existing irrigation or water delivery operations.
A Wild and Scenic designation would maintain access to the outdoor activities that are so popular in our community, including fishing, hunting, hiking, kayaking and more. It would also preserve these rivers in their free-flowing condition, so outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world will continue visiting our region and spending money at our local businesses. Looking forward to the day Grant County residents can proudly say that we have Wild and Scenic rivers and streams right in our backyard.
(s)Holley Hudgins Silver City
This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Silver City Daily Press.