May 31, 2006
Brian ODonnell, 970-903-0276
Bill Schudlich, 505-470-4878
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Trout Unlimited applauds Gov. Richardsons petition for roadless area protection
Inclusion of Valle Vidal in request is in best interest of sportsmen
SANTA FE Trout Unlimited today applauded Gov. Bill Richardsons petition to the Secretary of Agriculture that seeks protection for all of New Mexicos remaining national forest roadless lands, noting the significance of the request to the states sportsmen.
This is really great news for New Mexicos anglers and hunters, said Bill Schudlich, president of the New Mexico Council of Trout Unlimited. By asking that these lands be set aside and protected for their fish and wildlife resources, Gov. Richardson is ensuring that the states last, best fishing and hunting destinations remain just like they are now. As a fisherman and an outdoorsman, I cant imagine a more important request.
In addition to requesting that all of New Mexicos 1.6 million acres of inventoried roadless lands be protected from further development, Richardson is also seeking protection for the roadless portions of the states Valle Vidal area. The Valle Vidal, located in the northern part of the state in Taos and Colfax counties, contains thousands of acres of roadless land that wasnt included in previous Forest Service roadless inventories because it was held by a private corporation at the time. The land was deeded to the Forest Service by the Pennzoil Corp. in 1982 as a gift to the people of the United States.
That is especially important, said Kevin Reilly, a member of the New Mexico TU Council. The Valle Vidal is home to some of the last, best Rio Grande cutthroat trout populations left in the world, and it is home to the states healthiest elk herd and the states famous once-in-a-lifetime elk hunt. By including the Valle Vidal in his petition, Gov. Richardson is recognizing the value of undeveloped, untrashed land to New Mexicos sportsmen.
On the whole, New Mexicos roadless lands shelter the states healthiest big-game herds, in addition to important populations of wild and native trout, like the Valle Vidals Rio Grande cutthroats and the native Gila trout in states southern reaches. Without untracked, roadless land, many of New Mexicos wildlife treasures would be in serious peril.
This gives anglers and hunters new hope in New Mexico, Schudlich said. To keep things like they are now in our roadless backcountry is a reasonable request, and one that will make it possible for future generations of hunters and anglers to enjoy the same opportunities we enjoy today.