As New Mexico hunters head afield this season, I encourage them to take a moment and recall the landscape their pursuit will lead them to. Perhaps you can recollect memories of a vast untainted desert, or the gentle sway of blue grama seed heads rolling in waves across a hillside. Maybe you have called to mind the unforgettable silhouette of a rocky mountain, pressed against a sky ablaze with colors no photograph can capture.
Now, ponder how that scene will appear in the year 2048. How has this place, so special to you, changed? Does the dust from miles of new roads cloud the air? Has the grassland been paved over with acres of solar panels? Perhaps the outline of a wind turbine now mars the divine beauty of that mountain?
The United Sates Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in the final stage of developing a plan that will foretell the fate of many of the places you called to mind. This plan will guide land use decisions for the next 20 to 30 years. As it is currently written, the “preferred alternative” provides but a pittance towards wildlife conservation efforts. It is all of our responsibility as stewards and owners of these lands to demand the Bureau provide more protection for the resources we cherish.
I especially call on sportsmen to share their opinion. Sportsmen in this country have always led the wildlife conservation movement. We should be proud of this heritage and build upon the success of our forefathers.
Thus far, the public planning process has been very poorly attended by those advocating for wildlife.
Habitat conservation is the issue of our generation in southeastern New Mexico. The course we set now will forever be judged by future hunters. Remember, a civilization’s greatest display of power is often seen in how it shows restraint. I ask of you to commit to turning off the game this week and getting involved in this process.
Becoming enlightened on this issue is not simple, there are over 1,500 pages of planning documents. However, considering what is at stake, your efforts are worthwhile. The plan is posted online if you search for “Carlsbad BLM RMP.” Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are due by Nov. 5. This fall, the voices of many will be heard in regards to this issue — will one of them be yours?