Caldera series conclusion: Hunters, anglers seek equal access

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By Arin McKenna

Conclusion of four-part series

Increased access to the Valles Caldera National Monument and the demise of a system that favors the wealthy, rate high for many groups supporting S. 285.

“I see the trust, which manages the national preserve now, as basically locking out the public,” said Oscar Simpson, state chair of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

“Game and Fish has basically allowed the preserve to charge all kinds of fees so they could raise money. I would say the way the trust manages it, the more money you have, the better chance you have to go hunt or fish–especially hunt–in the Valles Caldera.”

BHA and other S. 285 supporters such the New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF) believe that a national preserve would provide equitable hunting and fishing opportunities.

A press release issued by NMWF delineates some of the current practices.

“Some Valles Caldera turkey hunts sell for $1,200 apiece. Other turkey access permits are sold through a lottery, but hunters can buy an unlimited number of lottery tickets, giving those with deep pockets greater chances of getting to hunt.”

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