The push for state takeover of federal land provoked a big push back. Last week, the roar of hundreds of angry hunters, anglers and others filled the Capitol Rotunda and sent me scampering out of the press gallery to see what was going on.
A standing-room-only crowd of camo-wearing folks rallied to say they won’t stand for the loss of one acre.
“I don’t want to see any public land sold,” said a gun-store owner, to loud cheering. “I also have an issue of wasted money for studies other states have already done.”
They wore stickers saying, “Keep your hands off MY public lands.”
The source of all this excitement is Senate Memorial 6 by Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, which asks the state to study federal land management and ownership and evaluate the impacts of federal revenue streams on the state and local communities. Reportedly, Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, plans to introduce a similar measure.
Last year, counties received $37.7 million in federal payments in lieu of taxes (PILT), and the state received $9.5 million from the Secure Rural Schools program.