Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Mexico Forestry Division Access To Private Lands

Over the past several months many New Mexico landowners have received requests from the New Mexico State Forestry Division requesting access to private land for surveying purposes. Some have returned them granting permission. Others have simply not responded, assuming that was an answer in and of itself.

Not so much. Landowners are now receiving call from a private contractor requesting permission for access. NMCGA talked with the Forestry Division today asking why the phone calls were being made if permission wasn’t granted. We were told that this was a final attempt to gain access.

If landowners do not want this survey done on their property,
they need to tell the contractor “no” and asked to be removed from the Forestry Division’s list.

The survey is part of a “forest inventory analysis” that states do in order to receive federal funding. Apparently New Mexico is many years behind in its’ analysis. The funding for this current project came from federal stimulus funds. There are 6,000 plots that have been randomly chosen for surveying.

It is difficult NOT to remember that it is the New Mexico State Forestry Division who, about five years ago, put in place regulations REQUIRING that private landowners obtain a permit for clearing more than 75 acres on their OWN PRIVATE LAND if they going to receive compensation for the cleared materials. No doubt these regulations, including penalties, have impacted landowners’ willingness to participate in any program with the Division. Additionally, the places where requests are being made are not necessarily “forest”… like northeast New Mexico. Finally, with the fires burning across the state, now might not be the best time to be surveying anything.

Some of the requests for access may be on State Trust Lands leased for grazing purposes. It is NMCGA’s understanding that unless the access is during scouting and hunting seasons anyone accessing State Trust Lands must have a permit from the State Land Office. The Association has contacted the State Land Office for clarity on this issue, but have not yet received a response. As soon as we do it will be passed on.

NMCGA members have also received similar requests from the University of New Mexico regarding surveying “wetlands”. Again, “no” is an acceptable answer.

If you have questions, please let us know.

Caren Cowan
Executive Director
New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association
POB 7517
Albuquerque NM 87194
505.247.0584 phone
505.842.1766 fax

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