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New Mexico Senators provide strong support for protecting access to rivers

Posted: 05/06/2020
By: Hattie Johnson

On May 5th, Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich of New Mexico conditionally filed a proposed Memorandum Brief as Amici Curiae, or "friend of the court", in strong support of the case Adobe Whitewater Club brought against the Governor and Game Commission in the New Mexico Supreme Court. The Senator's beautifully describe the value of preserving constitutionally defined public access to the state's rivers and streams. Read the full brief here.


The brief does a brilliant job of relating this case to other public access and environmental protection issues the two senators have been committed to, such as, defining federally waters under the Clean Water Act, access to public lands, and supporting outdoor recreation.


"By preserving the public's access to that limited resource - including for recreational purposes ranging from fishing and wading, to kayaking, rafting, and canoeing - the state has ensured its streams and watercourses can be used by everyone rather than the few who have the resources to buy up land. The Game Commission regulation at issue in this case threatens that access and the important contribution outdoor recreation makes to local economies."


As paddlers, we understand the vulnerability of our nation's waterways and appreciate the value that is derived from their protection. We agree that the regulation from the Game Commission will, and already has, threatened not only the important economic contribution of outdoor recreation but also the natural heritage future generations of New Mexicans deserve. "[The Senators] recognize that New Mexico's wild areas, including its streams and watercourses, are among its greatest assets." This action in this memorandum brief provide valuable support to preserve protections provided in the state's constitution of public access to the rivers of New Mexico.

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