New Mexico for New Mexicans

It is not fair that individuals like my buddy Derek J Leyendecker are left at the gate because Martin Heinrich assumes people like himself are the only ones that want to experience our great outdoors.

You may have read last week that the U.S. Interior Department has accepted a donation of the Rimrock Rose Ranch. The Rimrock Rose Ranch will increase the 16,000-acre Sabinoso Wilderness by 3,600 acres, and provide the only access to the Sabinoso Wilderness from a public road.

This gift from the Wilderness Land Trust came with strings attached. The donated land must be designated as wilderness, which means “hiking only” – no vehicles of any kind, not even mountain bikes.

Currently, there are no hiking trails, nor are there funds to create new trails. Hiking on trails in the wilderness is challenging. Hiking without a trail is only for the most experienced hikers.

So, while some celebrate access to the Sabinoso Wilderness, a majority of New Mexicans are still left without access. Families with small children, people with physical challenges, and the elderly are still left at the locked gate miles away.

This follows an established strategy by the coastal elites (the 21st Century’s land barons) to remove our public lands from public use. It works like this:

  • Use money donated to environmental groups to buy large tracts of private land
  • Donate the private land to the federal government, with a never-ending requirement that the land be designated wilderness
  • The donated land is off the tax roles
  • The donated land never can be used by hard-working ranchers and their families, who make good stewards of the land

Clearly, the coastal elites view New Mexico as a place for them to enjoy vacationing – not a place for New Mexicans to support their families.

Sen. Martin Heinrich has been the foremost proponent of turning New Mexico into an environmentalists’ Disneyland. He could care less about miners, loggers, and others who have lost their jobs to expanded federal land restrictions.

Mr. Heinrich’s message to rural New Mexicans is clear: the long tradition that has enabled hard-working New Mexicans to earn a living and support their families has come to a close. It has been replaced by the federal government acting as gatekeepers to our federal lands.

As your Senator, I will support Rural New Mexicans. I will oppose the federal government limiting our access to our lands.

Martin Heinrich is lost in the wilderness – but that does not mean we have to be. Keep the blueprint of success for rural New Mexicans. Send a Hard Hat to Washington.