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Stream Access Threatened By House Joint Resolution 5 and 8 in New Mexico

Posted: 02/16/2021
By: New Mexico Paddlers Coalition

Thirty New Mexico State Representatives have introduced two resolutions asking voters to amend Section II of the state’s Constitution (“New Mexico’s Bill of Rights”). Both resolutions ask voters to approve elevating hunting and fishing into constitutional rights.  Its title “Protecting the Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife” would be more accurately described as “Protecting Property Rights over your Right to Hunt, Fish, or Float.”  These ballot initiatives are designed to preempt stream access rights litigation currently being considered by the NM Supreme Court. Click here to email the NM House Natural Resources Committee and let them know to oppose both bills.


House Joint Resolutions 5 and 8 are scheduled for a hearing in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday February 16.  We’re calling on paddlers to urge the committee to reject the resolutions.  


To be clear, the “right to hunt and fish” is window-dressing meant to disguise and/or distract from the real meat of what these bills do: put private property rights ahead of public constitutional rights.  


Today, barricades block our freedom to float through sections of NM public rivers and streams.  HJM 5/8 proponents are in the process of taking our public waters, through State Game Commission rules and non-navigable certificates - privatization.  The Resolution would change the state constitution to make such barricades legal.  It would effectively authorize the privatization of streams throughout the state.


The Adobe Whitewater Club of New Mexico, with two sportsmen groups have petitioned the NM Supreme Court to find State Game Commission rules and privatization certificates unconstitutional.   While paddlers and other recreationalist sue, the privatizers seek to change the constitution.


You can best help defeat these intentionally misleading resolutions by sending a very short email to committee members before the hearing.   


Please make your notes to the representatives unique by adding choosing one of the following messages to elaborate on in the body of your email. 

Possible messages for the Committee Members:

  • - HJR 5/8 would adversely affect my ability to paddle New Mexico rivers
  • - The Resolutions would change the state constitution to make barricades across rivers legal.  
  • - The Resolutions would effectively authorize the privatization of streams throughout the state.
  • - Protect our right to boat.


If you can, also virtually attend the committee meeting:  go to ,click on “webcast” and select “House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee”.

American Whitewater

Hattie Johnson

Phone: 970-456-8533
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