Scoping meetings will be held throughout the area, including from 6 to 8 p.m. July 12 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum; 5 to 7 p.m. July 13 at the Village of Hatch Community Center and 6 to 8 p.m. July 11 at the Mimbres Valley Special Events Center in Deming.
People can also comment through the BLM website at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/92170/510; by email at email@example.com; or by mail at BLM District Office, Attention Mara Weisenberger; 1800 Marques Street, Las Cruces, NM, 88005.
Documents are available for public inspection at the BLM Office from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each Monday through Friday except for holidays.
The resource management plan that comes from the scoping process will provide long-range rules and regulations to govern future land-use allocations. All plans must, “ensure that objects and values are conserved, protected and restored,” according to the BLM website.
That site notes that the monument was created to, “preserve its cultural, prehistoric and historic legacy and maintain its diverse array of natural and scientific resources, ensuring that the prehistoric, historic and scientific values of this area remain for the benefit of all Americans.”
The new plan must not lose sight of that original vision.
It’s been so long now that it’s easy to forget the objections raised by those who opposed the monument. There were two primary concerns raised at the time.
The first came from law enforcement … or, more specifically, from former Sheriff Todd Garrison, who claimed that the monument would create a lawless corridor where drug smugglers and other criminals could roam freely without fear of pursuit from law enforcement.
The second came from ranchers who claimed that restrictions on motorized vehicles would prevent them from mending fences, replenishing water tanks and doing other chores needed to manage a ranch.
Nine years later, I don’t know how much validity there was to either of those claims. If either group has been harmed, this would be the time for them to come forward and show their evidence.
The monument has survived a hostile review during the Trump Administration, and will clearly maintain its status moving forward. That means the management plan developed over the next few weeks and months will be in place for decades to come.
It is important that all interests be heard and considered. Any management plan will have to address competing interests from agriculture, hikers, campers, anglers, nature lovers and conservationists. No plan will make every group happy.
But to comply with the guiding principle set out when the monument was designated, the top priority has to be preservation of the area for future generations. That should be something that all sides can agree on.
One final note on last week’s column. Las Cruces City Manager Ifo Pili will select the next police chief. I expect that he will seek and carefully consider input from the City Council and the public.
Walter Rubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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