Protecting Public Access to Rivers and Streams

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy grew 1.8% from 2021 to 2022 equating to $2.4 billion in value added for New Mexico and accounts for 1.9% of state GDP, including nearly 28,000 jobs. In addition to the economic gains, the New Mexico Supreme Court interpreted our state constitution and ruled that landowners cannot erect barriers to prevent anglers and others from walking, wading, or floating on the riverbed.

After complaints that several property owners in San Miguel County were illegally and unconstitutionally depriving the public of access to the Pecos River, our office filed a lawsuit against these landowners. Many of the landowners have threatened members of the public with physical violence if they see citizens lawfully fishing, streaming or wading in the streams adjacent to their property.

We are proud of the work our investigators and attorneys put in to protecting these rights and continue to work with community stakeholders, the whitewater rafter’s association and the paddlers association, to address these issues. We thank these stakeholders who are committed to safe water activities and ensuring citizens can respectfully enjoy our natural resources.