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Udall, Heinrich Welcome President's Proposal to Fully Fund LWCF

Udall, Heinrich Welcome President's Proposal to Fully Fund Land and Water Conservation Fund
FY 2017 proposed budget includes funding for several NM priorities
Thursday, February 4, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich applauded President Obama's announcement that he will work to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), an innovative conservation program that has helped to preserve public lands, create and expand city parks, and provide access to outdoor recreation across the New Mexico and the nation. Funding through the LWCF has helped conserve special places from the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Bernalillo County to the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte national monuments in Southern and Northern New Mexico.

The president announced his proposal in advance of the release of his Fiscal Year 2017 budget blueprint, which he will present to Congress on Feb. 9. His FY17 budget proposes investing $900 million in conservation and recreation projects across the country and seeks to make LWCF funding mandatory and to permanently authorize the program. The president's budget proposal also identifies specific New Mexico funding priorities for FY17, including acquisition of inholdings and land to expand or enhance the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, Rio Grande del Norte, the Continental Divide Trail, the Sabinoso Wilderness, and part of the Burnt Corn Pueblo, one of 24 sites included in the 2004 Galisteo Basin Cultural Sites Protection Act.

The LWCF is funded at no cost to the taxpayers from a portion of the revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling. Although it has been a huge success, the program has never received the full funding Congress intended when it was created over 50 years ago. Last year, the future of the LWCF was put in jeopardy as authorization and funding expired. Udall and Heinrich fought hard and successfully extended the fund for an additional three years at the end of 2015. Future funding and authorization for the LWCF and any specific projects ultimately will be determined by Congress.

Udall, the lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, will have the opportunity to fight for the president's proposal as the Senate writes funding bills this year. "The president's focus on permanently and fully funding the LWCF is great news for New Mexico and communities across the country. The LWCF has helped New Mexico conserve our cultural sites and beautiful landscapes, and it has created ballfields and community parks across the state. It helps create jobs at no cost to the taxpayers, and every dollar invested brings in $4 for our local communities," Udall said. "I look forward to working in the Appropriations Committee to ensure the LWCF is fully funded and authorized so it can finally live up to its full potential. The president is a powerful advocate, and I'm very pleased to have momentum as we begin the budget process."

“The president’s commitment to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and pursue permanent authorization is welcome news. And I’m pleased that this proposal would benefit projects in New Mexico to expand outdoor recreation opportunities and contribute to our economy," Heinrich said. "LWCF is one of America’s most successful conservation programs that has preserved our outdoor heritage, protected clean air and precious supplies of drinking water, and supported jobs across the country. In New Mexico it provides public land access for sportsmen, ensures there are soccer fields and baseball diamonds for our children, and protects some of our most iconic landscapes. I will continue to fight for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the Senate so that all of our children and grandchildren can continue to come back to these outdoor places year after year.”

Michael Casaus, The Wilderness Society's New Mexico State Director, joined Udall and Heinrich in welcoming the president's news. “Conserving New Mexico’s treasured places is essential to preserving our state’s cultural, historic and natural heritage," Casaus said. "We applaud the President for proposing funds to protect these areas, which draw visitors to New Mexico and enhances our state’s economy.”

Public Lands Rally – January 21, 2016

Event Banner

Don’t sit this one out. We need YOU!
Thursday January 21, 2pm
State Capitol Building

The future of our public lands in New Mexico depends on conservationists, recreationists, sportsmen and everyone who uses or cares about our national public lands standing together now. Let’s change the focus from armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge to New Mexicans exercising democracy-in-action to speak with a collective voice about our cherished public lands.

That’s a work day for many, but plan ahead and take the day off. Bring your family and friends.  If you need help with transportation email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you aren’t able to join us, please SIGN THE PETITION in support of our national public lands.

Public Access Coming for Sabinoso Wilderness

$3 Million Conservation Agreement will Unlock Public Access to the Sabinoso Wilderness in New Mexico

The Wilderness Land Trust and the Wyss Foundation today announced a major milestone in the effort to unlock public access to the 16,000 acre Sabinoso Wilderness in New Mexico, an area that is currently impossible for the public to access without trespassing on private property.

Sabinoso announcement

Thanks to a $3,150,000 contribution from the Wyss Foundation, The Wilderness Land Trust has purchased the Rimrock Rose, a 4,176 acre property adjacent to the Sabinoso Wilderness that includes the remote and beautiful Canyon Largo. The Wilderness Land Trust will now work to transfer the Rimrock Rose to public ownership by donating it to the Bureau of Land Management so that it may be added to the Sabinoso Wilderness area to create public access.

“We’ve been working on creating access to the Sabinoso Wilderness since it was proposed for designation,” said Reid Haughey, President of The Wilderness Land Trust.  “To the best of our knowledge, Sabinoso is the only wilderness area among the 762 wilderness areas within the National Wilderness Preservation System that does not have public access.  It will be a pleasure to unlock the Sabinoso this summer. It’s a great place to hike, hunt, ride horseback, explore and backpack.”

The Sabinoso Wilderness, created by Congress in 2009, is a rugged backcountry area east of Las Vegas, New Mexico, that is home to mule deer, bobcats, gray foxes and a wide range of plant and animal species that are home to the high plains.  The headwaters of the Canadian River runs through the Rimrock Rose property and the Canyon Largo, then on past the designated wilderness. Canyon Largo was a well-traveled route used by cavalry traveling from Fort Union to Fort Bascom in the 19th century, and by native people for centuries before patented as private land a hundred years ago.

“We are proud to be able to help local leaders and The Wilderness Land Trust as they expand access for fishing, hunting, hiking, and recreation in New Mexico’s prized backcountry,” said Molly McUsic, President of the Wyss Foundation.  “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the wonder of the Sabinoso Wilderness and all of our nation’s public lands.”

Over the coming months, The Wilderness Land Trust will work with the Bureau of Land Management to donate the lands to public ownership so that the public may explore one of New Mexico’s newest and most stunning wilderness areas.  Before the lands may be donated to public ownership, the Bureau of Land Management will need to conduct and complete a review of the areas to determine whether they are suitable for addition to the Sabinoso Wilderness and meet the agency’s criteria for accepting a donation.

“Acquisition of permanent access to Sabinoso is huge for New Mexican sportsmen and women as well as all our citizenry,” said Garrett VeneKlasen, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.  “This is a magical, game-filled landscape we’ve all been aching to use but until now could not utilize. Three cheers to the Wyss Foundation and The Wilderness Land Trust for making this dream become reality!”

Founded in 1998, the Wyss Foundation has long supported locally-led efforts to conserve public lands in the American West for everyone to experience and explore.  The Foundation’s philanthropy has helped conserve and restore public lands from the Crown of the Continent in Montana and the Hoback Basin in Wyoming to the coastline of California and the rivers of Maine.

The Wilderness Land Trust is a small, highly specialized nonprofit organization established to buy and protect wilderness land.  Since founded in 1992, the Trust has preserved 432 parcels comprising more than 47,000 acres of wilderness inholdings in 93 designated and proposed wilderness areas across 9 states.  The Wilderness Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization, has offices in California and Colorado.  For more information visit our website www.wildernesslandtrust.org.

 

2016 Mexican Wolf Conservation Stamp Contest

wolf stamp sample for newsletter

2016 MEXICAN WOLF CONSERVATION STAMP CONTEST

Help protect the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf with your artwork

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance invites submissions for the 2016 Mexican Wolf Conservation Stamp. Artists worldwide are invited to enter two-dimensional drawings, paintings, or photographs featuring the Mexican gray wolf. The winning artwork will be featured on the 2016 stamp that will be sold to raise funds to support Mexican wolf conservation and education projects. All artwork must be scalable to the size of the stamp, 4.5-inches wide by 5.5-inches tall. Please submit electronic images of original artwork by January 15, 2016 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance issued its first Mexican Wolf Conservation Stamp in 2011. This collectible stamp is similar to the US Fish and Wildlife’s duck stamp, which funds wetlands conservation– but the stamp is in no way related to hunting. All proceeds from sales of the wolf stamp directly benefit activities to support Mexican wolf conservation and education projects. The 4.5×5.5 inch full-color stamp is sold exclusively through NM Wild and is a framing-quality print for collectors.

Click for previous Wolf Conservation Stamp Contests


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