Ruling may open New Mexico’s private waterways to public

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A state commission’s decision may reopen New Mexico’s private waterways to recreationists.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the New Mexico Game Commission last week handed fishermen and other recreational boaters a partial victory by temporarily halting a program for private property owners. Under the 2017 program, private property owners have say over whether the public can access waterways on their land.

The current commission, appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, decided Wednesday to impose a 90-day moratorium on the rule until it can receive advice from Attorney General Hector Balderas as to whether it is legal under state law.

A previous commission, appointed by Republican then-Gov. Susana Martinez, implemented a program in 2017 that allowed landowners to certify rivers and streams that cut through their property as “non-navigable.”

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