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New Mexico Mining Claims Jump 50% Since 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 10, 2008

For Immediate Release

New Mexico mining claims jump 50 percent since 2003
State, county officials urge Bingaman, Domenici to pass reform legislation

Albuquerque, N.M. –In the face of a dramatic new increase in claims here, state, county and tribal officials called on Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici to lead a Senate committee to reform the 135-year-old law that governs the mining of gold, uranium and other hardrock minerals on federal lands in New Mexico and other western states.

A comprehensive bipartisan package that would modernize the Civil War era statute was passed by the House of Representatives in November. The Senate will host its first mining reform hearing this month.

“This year, New Mexico will take center stage in the effort to reform the 1872 Mining Law,” said Nathan Newcomer of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “Senators Bingaman and Domenici can play a lead role in protecting the health of New Mexico’s communities, lands, water and wildlife by producing a modern framework for mining that protects taxpayers and the environment. We all have a stake in their success. ”

The 1872 mining law, signed by President Ulysses S. Grant, offers special status to those filing claims on public lands – without safeguarding watersheds, wildlife or communities from the messy business of mining. It also allows mining companies to take minerals from public lands without compensating taxpayers, while oil, gas and coal industries have been paying royalties for decades.

New Mexico has had a significant share of mining-related disasters. In 1979, 94 million gallons of radioactive, acidic mine tailings spilled into the Rio Puerco. The release from the site, promoted as a modern and safe treatment facility, is the largest release of liquid radioactive waste in U.S. history. Thirty years later, the impacts of that spill still linger.

The need for reform has also been made more urgent by the dramatic increase in new mining claims in western states, including New Mexico. According to Bureau of Land Management data analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, the total number of hardrock mining claims in New Mexico is 50 percent higher in mid-2007 than in 2003. Claims totaled 11,348 in July of 2007.

“Counties have a stake in mining reform,” said Denna Archuleta, Bernalillo County Commissioner. “We’re dealing with an antiquated law where the taxpayers are left with the clean-up, and it’s a financial burden on everybody for a few to make a profit. We ask Senators Bingaman and Domenici to take this opportunity to take the lead at reform at the federal level.”

“Sportsman have a stake in mining reform,” said Kent Salazar, president of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “Our public lands are the source of our best fishing, elk hunting and wildlife habitat, and we pay user fees to hunt and fish. It’s time the industry also paid its own way, and took on the cost of mine cleanup.”

Today’s event included participation from the New Mexico Division of Mining and Minerals, Haaku Tribal Water Office/Acoma Pueblo, Dine Against Uranium Mining, Conservation Voters New Mexico, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, and Environment New Mexico.

On January 24, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear testimony about the need for mining law reform and is expected to produce a bill by late February. The hearing follows passage late last year of H.R. 2262, which provided fundamental reform measures.

Garrett Veneklasen joins New Mexico Wild

For Immediate Release             

Garrett Veneklasen joins New Mexico Wild

GVK photoALBUQUERQUE (August 30, 2019) – The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (New Mexico Wild) is pleased to announce the selection of Garrett VeneKlasen as Northern Conservation Director.

“New Mexico is a large state with a one of a kind natural heritage that requires constant vigilance to safeguard, and Garrett is exactly the kind of advocate you want fighting for our special wild places,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild. “Garrett is recognized throughout the state and beyond for his passionate and visionary leadership in conservation and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team. New Mexico’s wilderness, wildlife, and water will be in good hands with Garrett on the job.”

Garrett was a candidate in the Democratic primary for the New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands in 2018 and then worked as a political advocacy strategist for Conservation Voters of New Mexico leading up to and during the New Mexico Legislative session. Before running for office, Garrett was Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. He previously served as the Southwest Director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project (in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado) as well as Trout Unlimited’s New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator. Garrett also founded the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Garrett has been a tireless champion for the conservation of public lands and native wildlife, fighting for everything from federal and state funding for native wildlife, stricter regulation of off highway vehicles on public lands, higher state water quality standards, stricter regulation on mineral development, to enhanced protection of threatened and endangered species. 

Garrett will be leading New Mexico Wild’s efforts on Carson and Santa Fe National Forest issues; advocating for wildlife corridors; opposition to the proposed Tererro mine near Pecos; state policy; protections for the Greater Chaco Landscape; and other place-based conservation initiatives.


ABOUT THE NEW MEXICO WILDERNESS ALLIANCE: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance or “New Mexico Wild” is a non-profit 501 (C)(3), independent, homegrown, grassroots, conservation organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued respect of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. With staff and thousands of supporters throughout the state, New Mexico Wild is dedicated to the rights and the value of citizen involvement in protecting increasingly rare wild places within public lands. Just as freedom is every American’s birthright so too is Wilderness.

Wild Guide 2008

Happy Trails and Wilderness Tales
2008 New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Wild Guide

wild guide 08

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has just released its “2008 Wild Guide, The Passport to New Mexico’s Great Outdoors.”

Sponsored by REI, this year’s Wild Guide is jam-packed with great hikes, volunteer service projects and Wilderness lore. Included are 48 hikes, some of which are self-guided but most are lead by the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. There are nine backpacking trips, four car-camps, and 27 volunteer service all across the state. Some of our projects venture into areas that are not normally open to the public.

Supported by more than 5,500 members, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the creation, protection and restoration of wilderness in New Mexico. An important part of our work remains connecting people to our wild public lands like Otero Mesa and the Valle Vidal.

Through the numerous hikes, backpacks, and Wilderness service projects we aim to build awareness and support for the protection of these special landscapes – all the while having FUN! The 2008 Wild Guide captures a wide variety of experiences while showcasing some of our states greatest wilderness resources and potentials. Additionally, there are cooking recipes, safety tips, stories written by outdoor enthusiasts, and much more.

No matter your hiking experience, there is an outing for everyone. Ranging from a strenuous twenty mile dayhike along the Sandia Crest to an easy two mile stroll, suitable for children, in the newly designated Ojito Wilderness, just an hour northwest of Albuquerque. Whether you want a three day backpack in the Pecos Wilderness, or a simple car-camp in Otero Mesa, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance 2008 Wild Guide has an adventure waiting for you.

Happy Trails!

Copies of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance 2008 Wild Guide can be purchased for only $9.95 by calling 505-843-8696, or by picking up a copy at REI, Sportz Outdoors, and Gardener’s Guild in Albuquerque, The Travel Bug in Santa Fe or Mudd n Flood in Taos.

New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference in Silver City on October 3 & 4

August 5, 2019

Silver City, New Mexico – On October 3 & 4, Silver City will host the 2nd annual New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference. The Conference will feature leaders from across New Mexico and the nation to highlight successful strategies for creating jobs and tourism connected to outdoor recreation. New Mexico has just created an “Outdoor Recreation Division” in the Economic Development Department to help communities create economic opportunities connected to the state’s growing $9.9 billion outdoor recreation industry.

This year’s Conference speakers include a wide range of leading marketing and outdoor recreation specialists including Dave Stanton, creator of the successful New Mexico True advertising campaign, eco and wildlife tourism companies, trail experts from the Rio Grande, Appalachian, Arizona, and Continental Divide Trails and top government officials including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Senator Martin Heinrich, Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico Secretary of Tourism Jen Schroer, and the new Director of the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Office.

The Outdoor Economics Conference will include panel discussions about successful community and company programs that promote outdoor recreation opportunities, eco and wildlife tourism, state promotional resources, benefits of trails, sustainable tourism, federal partnerships with land management agencies, and equal access to the outdoors.

Citizens and leaders interested in developing businesses and governmental policies connected to the outdoor recreation industry are encouraged to attend. To attend, register online at www.outdooreconomicsnm.com. The registration fee is $40.

The New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference will be held at the Grant County Conference Center, 3031 Highway 180 East in Silver City.

The Conference includes an evening reception at the San Vicente Creek River Walk Park and a choice of one of eleven complimentary outdoor tours in the region including river rafting, mountain bike riding, hikes along the Gila River and Continental Divide Trail, and plane tours over the Gila Wilderness.

Featured Sessions and Speakers

The conference will include the following featured sessions and speakers. (Visit http://www.outdooreconomicsnm.com to view the conference program and speaker bios.)

New Mexico State Government Outdoor Recreation Resources
Outdoor Marketing Tool Kit
Eco & Wildlife Tourism
Benefits and Opportunities of Promoting Trails
Sustainable Outdoor Tourism
Outdoor Recreation Small Business Successes
Equitable Opportunity and Access to the Outdoors
Federal Land Management Agency Partnerships

Conference speakers include:

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small
New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard
Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales
Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department, Jen Schroer
Secretary of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, Sarah Cottrell Propst
Director of the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division
Director of New Mexico State Parks , Christy Tafoya
Director of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department, Dave Simon
Cycle Forward, Amy Camp
CEO of Visit Bend, Kevney Dugan
Creator of New Mexico True, Dave Stanton
Outdoor Industry Association, David Weinstein
New Mexico Wild, Jeff Steinborn, Garrett VeneKlasen, and Grecia Nuñez
Director of the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division
New Mexico Representative of Defenders of Wildlife, Michael Dax
Ted Turner Expeditions, David Barfield
Fly Fishing Guide & Member of San Felipe Pueblo, Norman Maktima
Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures, Taylor Phillips
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Dana Watts
Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma, Brian Vallo
National Park Service, Robert "Bob" Ratcliffe
Forest Service, Toby Bloom & Francisco Valenzuela
Bureau of Land Management, Angela West
Far Flung Adventures, Steve Harris
Gila Hike and Bike, Martyn Pearson
Southwest Expeditions, David Crider
Latino Outdoors, José G. González
Taos Pueblo Division of Natural Resources, Cameron Martinez
River Source & Member of Cochiti Pueblo, Carlos Herrera
Continental Divide Trail Association, Teresa Martinez
Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Julie Judkins
Arizona Trail Association, Matt Nelson