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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact:  (505) 476-8000
dan.williams@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JUNE 14, 2013:

DIRECTOR, SENATOR AIDES DISCUSS DEPARTMENT OPPOSITION
TO VALLES CALDERA LEGISLATION

SANTA FE – Department of Game and Fish representatives, including Director Jim Lane and State Game Commissioners, met Friday with representatives of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall to discuss the Department’s concerns with proposed legislation that would transfer management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service.

The discussion was prompted by a June 3 letter from Lane to Sen. Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich stating the Department’s opposition to the Senate’s bill (S. 285), currently before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The State Game Commission unanimously voted May 23 to oppose the bill, which commissioners said included language that could negatively affect wildlife management and sport hunting, fishing and trapping on the 89,000-acre preserve.

“This was a positive step toward addressing the concerns of our agency and the sportsmen and women who care about wildlife, fishing and hunting on one of New Mexico’s most precious pieces of public land,” Director Lane said. “We are optimistic that Senator Udall will work with us to find a better plan for the preserve.”

In his letter to the senator, Lane expressed concerns that transfer of the property to the National Park Service “will result in increasing conflict over management authority, a poorly managed elk population, lost hunting opportunity and increased conflicts with adjacent landowners.” He cited vague language in the bill regarding wildlife management authority and fishing and hunting opportunities, and his concerns that the National Park Service objective is resource preservation at the expense of conservation and recreation.

The Game Commission plans to discuss the proposed legislation and allow full public discussion at its Aug. 22 meeting in Grants.

Click here for more information about S. 285. For more about the Valles Caldera National Preserve, please click here.

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