November 6, 2020
I grew up in Las Cruces, and spent quite a bit of time in the Gila hiking, fishing and hunting. The Gila is a special space, and should be protected by the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
This bill has wide grassroots support from traditional users, such as sportsmen and sportswomen, property owners, tribes, government bodies, civic organizations, veterans and more than 150 small businesses.
Residents of Grant County and surrounding communities have advocated for Wild and Scenic protections of the Gila and San Francisco rivers. The bill would protect 450 miles of these rivers. The Gila offers unique recreational experiences in the heart of the wilderness — nowhere else can you catch the Gila trout, one of two native salmonoids found only in New Mexico.
Both Sens. Udall and Heinrich hosted a public comment period on their legislation, to give local voices a chance to weigh in; the senators even made changes to their legislation based on the input of local river users.
It is disappointing to see Heritage Waters list people and public bodies as supporters of their anti-Wild and Scenic stance without permission. I personally contacted my local Cuidad Soil and Water Conservation District and received confirmation that their district supervisors never gave Heritage Waters permission to list the district as an opponent of the Wild and Scenic legislation. Thankfully, Heritage Waters removed their name.
(s)Harris Klein Los Ranchos, N.M.
This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Silver City Daily Press.